PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21: C.J. Sapong #17 of the Sporting KC and Steve Purdy #25 of the Portland Timbers go up for a ball during the second half of the game at Jeld-Wen Field on April 21, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers won the game 1-0.(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The streak is finally over. Sporting Kansas City lost their first game of the 2012 season 1-0 to the Portland Timbers last night due to a Chance Myers own goal. Sporting KC had played their 3rd game in 8 days heading into Jeld Wen but saw a full-strength side take the pitch. The fatigue and the lack to find a killer pass or finishing touch were two of the factors that contributed to the somewhat uninspired loss.
It feels kind of surreal that Sporting KC lost, we Kansas Citians have become accustomed to "winning football" since the middle of March. But then again, just having the streak in it of itself was unreal and now, Sporting KC can have the chance to regroup and take a week off ahead of their May 5th game against le Montreal Impact.
The action began early, both sides looked eager to prove something and possibly for the first time this season the other team set the tempo of the game. And for the first 15 minutes both sides, especially SKC, looked really vulnerable.
Around the 9th minute of play CJ Sapong went on a great run down the left wing before cutting inside on the endline. The former rookie of the year then picked out Kei Kamara with a beautiful ball that the big Sierra Leonean striker couldn't finish.
Sporting KC had another chance in the 17th minute after some great possession play by Zusi and Convey, but this time it was CJ Sapong who couldn't find the finishing touch.
Then, in the 42 minute Sporting KC conceeded the only goal of the game. Both of SKC's center backs were pressed too far up, especially Besler, who looked like he was caught in between pressuring Diego Chara who had the ball, and dropping back to cover the pass. Nevertheless, Chara played a decent ball that found Kris Boyd, the Scottish striker then sent in a searching cross to the back post where Cesar tried a lunging clear with his foot, meanwhile Chance Myers tried to head it to the right of Nielsen's goal, out of danger. The end result was a ball in the back of the net, SKC had scored on themselves for the first time this season.
The second half was very painful to watch as an SKC fan. I remember thinking at the beginning of the half that Sporting would end up losing this one, it just wasn't their night. I proved to be right, Portland successfully held off Kansas City for the rest of the game.
Looking back on it this was probably the best game to lose from Sporting KC's perspective. They have a week off and it will bring them back down to earth after the terrific start to the season.
Jimmy Nielsen 6 - There wasn't really much the big Dane could do to stop the own goal. All in all it was an average game for him yet I'm sure he'll have wanted to keep his clean sheet after coming off his fantastic performance against Vancouver.
Chance Myers 5 - Every time I look at the replay I cringe seeing Chance head the goal into the net. Obviously Chance wasn't aiming for the goal but that mixed with some poor defending at times sees him as one of the lowest players for SKC.
Matt Besler 6 - Matt had a decent game, he should take some blame for the goal but there wasn't much he could do.
Aurelien Collin 7: Man of the Match - First and foremost, Collin basically took away Kris Boyd from the equation at times during the match. I remember in particular a fantastic tackle he had in the beginning of the match that stopped a counter attack in its tracks. He was certainly SKC's brightest spot.
Seth Sinovic 5 - Seth had one of the worst games I've ever seen from him in 2012 last night. He dived in way too much, something he's seemed more susceptible to this season, and was caught not tracking back on the own goal.
Julio Cesar 5 - The Brazilian also had one of his worst games in a KC shirt. He played a huge role in the goal and I really would've expected more from the 33 year old. He should have at least communicated with Chance somehow, besides, Julio is almost 10 years Chance's elder and I put a lot of the blame on him for the own goal.
Roger Espinoza 6 - Roger had an average game, he made some good passes but like the rest of the midfield, was a little off.
Bobby Convey 6 - Bobby. You are a professional footballer, learn to pass and shoot with your weaker foot! Nevertheless, you looked good at times, and again, impressed me to a degree.
CJ Sapong 6.5 - CJ looked pretty good through out the night. He brought a little different dynamic to the attack than he usually has and linked up well with Kei on SKC's best chance.
Kei Kamara 6.5 - We saw a different Kei last night than what we're used to. His runs were a little too slow and looked to not have enough energy about him but he still proved to be one of KC's biggest threats going forward.