Even though SKC is my team, I haven't actually lived in Kansas City for about eight years--I moved to Portland in 2004, then to Berkeley in 2008 for graduate school, and I relocated the Pacific NW about a year ago for my first job out of grad school.
Jeld-Wen field is a pretty good place to catch a soccer game, considering it was primarily a baseball stadium for much of its life. I didn't have an expensive seat--an upper-level terrace seat--but I had a decent view of the action from sitting just beyond the penalty arc. From there, I recorded a lot of stray observations and tried to come up with player ratings for the game (I tried to stick to Alex's curve on this one, where 6 represents an unremarkable, neutral performance). Feel free to leave feedback, positive and negative. I don't get to watch many SKC games live anymore for obvious reasons, so I wanted to make the most of it!
-It had nothing to do with the game itself, but Portland fans do something odd during the national anthem--at the end of each line, they raise their towels in their right hand as a sort of salute...has anyone seen this before? I had no idea what it was.
-I was surprised that PV trotted out the starting lineup that he did--I figured Cesar would get another game off, and that we might see Jacob Peterson or Michael Harrington. I would have started Nagamura over Cesar.
-Was not the least bit surprised to see most of the attacks in the first half come down Chance Myers's side. Like our forwards, Kris Boyd will go from side to side, but he seemed to spend much of his time battling with Chance and Aurelien Collin.
-Speaking of which, this was an absolutely terrible game for Chance. The own goal aside, he got burned pretty badly two or three times in the first half and Aurelien had to save his bacon. He played better in the second half, but still, oof.
-This was a physical game to be sure, but in the first half, Portland was the more physical team, and we really had to work at creating chances--CJ and Kei created one chance early, but they finished weak. Troy Perkins wasn't really tested until the 2nd half injury time. Despite us having more possession, we weren't always dictating play. It was a rough game, and the yellow cards handed out were deserved.
-I wrote in my notes that I would have subbed off Cesar at halftime. He had a bad first half, and his yellow card early in the second half could have ended way worse.
-Nobody in the SKC offense was really able to create any chances except for Kei and Zusi, and neither of them were finishing well. The experiment of switching Kei and Bobby Convey on opposite flanks in the second half didn't work this time.
-I was very surprised that PV waited until 70 minutes in to make his first substitution given that they were playing on turf and it was their 3rd game in 8 days. I liked both substitutions but thought they should have happened a lot sooner.
-It seriously is only a matter of time before Besler's long throw-ins start yielding even more results for SKC. Their best chance came at the very end off of one of those when Troy Perkins mishandled the ball.
Jimmy Nielsen: 7. Not at fault for the own goal, and he made a couple excellent plays in the second half that prevented the final line from being 2-0 or 3-0.
Chance Myers: 3. Not gonna kick the poor guy when he's down. At least he improved in the second half, and he had one decent chance on a shot that went over.
Aurelien Collin: 7 (Man of the Match). He helped make Kris Boyd a non factor in the game (that cross should never have ended in the net--the only players there to catch it were Chance and Julio Cesar), and that constitutes a good days' work for any central defender.
Matt Besler: 6. Usually solid, but indirectly contributed to the own goal by being out of position. But responsible for the best scoring chance we had all game as well.
Seth Sinovic: 6. Solid effort, got burned once or twice but I can see the chemistry between him and Convey gel.
Julio Cesar: 4. Looked very tentative early on with both his defense and his passing, and the miscommunication with Chance was disastrous.
Roger Espinoza: 6. Typical gas-pedal performance from Roger--he was everywhere on the pitch, and was involved in a number of the few offensive forays we had.
Graham Zusi: 6. I vacillated between a 5 and a 6 here for Zusi, as he wasn't at his most effective and I think expectations are higher for him. I was generous and rounded up.
Bobby Convey: 6. I am probably a little more pro-Convey than Alex is, and it is clear that Convey is working well with Seth and Roger, but that hasn't yet translated into many results, including in this game.
Kei Kamara: 6. More than any player except maybe Graham Zusi, Kei worked at creating chances for himself and others, but his weak finishes seldom tested Troy Perkins.
CJ Sapong: 5. After combining for an early chance with Kei, CJ was invisible for long stretches of the game and made few serious attacks on goal.
Teal Bunbury: 5. A good idea for a substitution, but Teal didn't create many threats despite his attempts to get involved in the attack.
Paulo Nagamura: 6. Brought more certainty to the central midfield than Julio Cesar did. If Cesar's only hangup was being injured, then we'll find out soon enough, as SKC has two weeks until their next game, I believe. But if Julio is starting to have a bit of bad form, I'd be very comfortable handing the reins over to Paulo. Rating would be higher if he had come on sooner to make more of a difference.
If you've gotten this far...thanks for humoring me. =) Thanks.