By: Steven Seib
Before the kickoff of Wednesday’s much anticipated MLS All-Star Game, the 21,175-strong crowd at Sporting Park turned their attention to the pre-game video on the stadium’s video boards. As music blared throughout the stadium, the video proclaimed, “Rome wasn’t built in a day…But it can fall in 90 minutes.” A clever quip, but it was the visitors from Rome who would have the last laugh, defeating the MLS All-Stars by full-time a score of 3-1.
Roma, no doubt fueled by the hype surrounding the match, looked ready to play and controlled the ball from the opening whistle. Just four minutes into the match the Italian side took advantage of the poor organization of the All-Stars’ back line. With Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and Aurelian Collin keeping a high line for the MLS, Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi was able to slip a lovely through ball past Besler, finding Kevin Strootman who, despite a last-ditch effort from Collin, was able to slot his shot into the bottom right corner of the net to give Roma a 1-0 lead.
The All-Stars’ woes continued as the half progressed, struggling to keep up with the organized, methodical build up from the Romans. Just three minutes on from the opening score, Roma’s Francesco Totti collected the ball on the left side of his own half before making a delightful pass across the field, finding Florenzi who had made a run behind MLS’ out of position left back Corey Ashe. Florenzi was able to dribble into the right side of the All-Star’s penalty area, one-on-one with goalkeeper Raul Fernandez before squandering the chance, pulling a shot left across the face of goal as it rolled across the endline for a goal kick.
With just 24 minutes elapsed, MLS manager Peter Vermes made a precautionary substitution, taking off Sporting’s Graham Zusi who suffered cramps early on in the match, and bringing on Vancouver Whitecaps forward Camilo Sanvesso.
Without the midfield presence of Zusi, the All-Stars continued to struggle against the composed Roma midfield and defense. By the end of the first period, the MLS had failed to put a shot on target, with the away side creating two opportunities on goal, and controlling 54 percent of possession.
Manager Peter Vermes made four substitutions at the break, hoping to reverse the first half trends, but as the second half started, it would be more of the same for the home side.
Just two minutes into the final half, Roma’s wide, organized attack continued to give the All-Star defense fits. Federico Balzaretti got the ball along the left touchline in the attacking third before looking up and firing a low, left-footed cross to a wide-open Florenzi who had again slipped past the out of position Ashe before tucking his shot low and hard into the left of the goal past a helpless Nick Rimando to give the Italians a 2-0 lead.
In the 48th minute, the record-breaking crowd looking on at Sporting Park thought the MLS had found a response. Thierry Henry found himself on the left side of the attacking third, dribbling past two Roma defenders before managing to hit a left-footed cross towards Chris Wondolowski, who narrowly missed getting his head to the ball under intense pressure from Roma’s Balzaretti.
MLS continued to press the issue, and in the 52nd minute, the first-half substitution Sanvesso was able to get past Roma centerback Mehdi Benatia, dribbling to the byline before sending in a dangerous near-post cross. Roma’s defense was able to handle the effort, however, clearing the cross out for a corner, which amounted to nothing for the All-Stars.
The next opportunity would occur in the 67th minute as Landon Donovan, playing in his 13th consecutive All-Star game, took advantage of Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, dispossessing the midfielder just outside of the 18 yard box. Cutting past the attempted tackle of Benatia, Donovan had an opportunity one-on-one with Morgan DeSanctis, but fired the shot right at the goalkeeper’s chest for an easy save.
Just moments later, a failed cross from Aurelian Collin fell to the feet of Mike McGee inside the penalty area, but McGee’s left footed full-volley was again right at DeSanctis.
Sensing that the MLS were on the verge of breaking through, Roma immediately pushed forward, and in the 68th minute, a string of beautiful one-touch passes between Strootman and American Michael Bradley found Junior Tallo in front of the six-yard box where he was able to finish the chance despite a hard, sliding challenge from MLS’ Tony Beltran to extend the lead to 3-0.
The MLS’ confidence a shambles by this point, they struggled to find opportunities as the Roman side continued to hold an edge on possession. The All-Stars would finally find some consolation in the 90th minute, however. A free kick surrendered in Roma’s defensive third allowed Camilo to hit a perfect ball in, finding the head of the 6-foot-5 Omar Gonzalez who snapped the ball into the bottom right corner to make the score 3-1. It would be the last touch of the ball for the MLS, as referee Hilario Grajeda blew his whistle moments later to signal full time.
Check out the post-game press conference of Manager Peter Vermes and All-Star Matt Besler here: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/tu92bdkkco63t6c/VermesBesler_All-Star.mp3
Check out the post-game press conference of AS Roma Manager Rudi Garcia and AS Roma Midfielder Michael Bradley here: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/0n716gsi4be8t8d/GarciaBradley_All-Star.mp3
By: Steven Seib and Eric Nehm
Soony Saad hadn’t been able to do it all season, but last night he was able to do it twice.
With a record-breaking crowd of 21,126 fans looking on at Sporting Park, Saad was able to deliver the first two goals of the match and his first two goals of the season in Sporting Kansas City’s 3-0 victory over Toronto FC.
“It’s definitely amazing. It felt right especially hearing the crowd erupt,” said Saad after the game. “We had a record-breaking crowd tonight and hats off to them they were fantastic from before the game to right now.”
From the opening kickoff, Sporting KC dominated the game. The first 20 minutes of the game featured great possession from Sporting KC with multiple chances, including a Claudio Bieler shot in the 14th minute that required a nice save from Joseph Bendik, but ultimately there would be no goal.
Despite overwhelming possession, Sporting KC did look vulnerable to the counter-attack and Toronto took advantage in the 18th minute when Jeremy Brockie found himself alone to the right of the goal and tried to put one past Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen parried the first attempt away from the goal, but only to the feet of Brockie, whose second effort Nielsen secured.
With Sporting KC on the attack again in the 21st minute, defender Seth Sinovic brought the ball up the left wing and drew two defenders. He then found Saad alone in the middle of the field. Saad composed himself and took a powerful shot that found its way into the lower left corner of the net to give Sporting KC the first goal of the game.
“I was able to pull my run back and Seth slipped it in to me,” Saad said. I took a touch and I just kept my head down and tried to hit it with my laces. I made good contact and soon as I hit it, I knew it was goal bound.”
Though Kansas City continued to dominate possession, the rest of the first half remained relatively quiet with very few threatening chances from either side.
The second half started very similar to the way the first half ended with Sporting KC once again dominating possession and threatening the Toronto FC goal.
Then, in the 51st minute, Saad attacked from the left wing and passed to Graham Zusi open near the top of the box. Zusi took a shot that was parried away by Bendik, but Saad, finishing his run, was right there for the rebound and his second goal of the game.
“We always talk about getting runners in the box,” said manager Peter Vermes. “The more numbers we have there, the more opportunities falling back to us and we’ll get those goals.”
After a rough tackle on Saad in the 56th minute, Reggie Lambe of Toronto FC was sent off in the 56th minute with a red card. For a team struggling to keep up with the attack of Sporting KC, playing with one less player on the field was the last thing Toronto FC needed.
Sporting KC didn’t waste much time before taking advantage of the extra room Lambe’s red card had afforded them. In the 63rd minute, Saad once again attacked from the left wing and passed off to Kei Kamara, who deftly pushed the ball on to Benny Feilhaber in front of goal. Feilhaber, with terrific awareness, gently tapped the ball off to Bieler, who tapped the ball into the back of an empty net.
“I think the third goal was one of the best combination play goals we’ve scored since I’ve been here,” Vermes said. “We’ve been working on it for, I don’t know, five years to try to get there, but we finally did.”
Vermes’ joking in the press conference was indicative of the kind of game Sporting KC played last night. From whistle to whistle, Sporting KC dominated. At game’s end, Sporting KC had possessed the ball a staggering 67% of the game and outshot Toronto FC 24 to 4.
With the victory and Montreal’s loss to New York last night, Sporting KC took sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. They will look to remain in first place next Saturday when they go on the road to take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium at 9 p.m. CDT.
Listen to the post-game comments of Soony Saad and manager Peter Vermes here: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/x4qiu0ie4ano9qe/PostGame_071313.MP3
Public Occurrences, Episode 34: Bahrain part 2, July 20, 2013
This week’s Public Occurrences is part two of Jason’s interview with Said Youcef Al Muhafdha, Acting Vice President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. They discuss US weapons sales to the government of Bahrain. Said expresses his skepticism about the BICI report’s finding that activists were responsible for the deaths of 2 foreign workers and 3 Bahraini police and military officers. Said also discusses what he believes will come next for the Arab Spring in Bahrain.
Public Occurrences, Episode 33: Bahrain part 1, July 13, 2013
On this week’s Public Occurrences Jason Beets interviews Said Youcef Al Muhafdha, Acting Vice President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. They discuss the recent torture of child prisoners in Bahrain, the trial against Said for “disseminating false news on Twitter”, and the imprisonment of human rights defenders Abdulhadi Alkhwaja and Nabeel Rajab.
Public Occurrences, Episode 32: Chem-E-Car, July 6, 2013
This episode of Pubic Occurrences begins with an interview with Kevin Diehl, co-captain of K-State’s Chem-E-Car team. After that Public Occurrences Science Correspondent Anthony Williams discusses a Supreme Court ruling that naturally occurring human DNA cannot be patented and a breakthrough in chemistry at Argonne National Laboratory.
This year, 91.9 will reward you for being patriotic for the 4th of July! We will give you a chance to submit photos of you showing some love for the red, white, and bue and ick the one we think is the most creative, patriotic and the overall coolest way to celebrate the holiday. We’re looking for unique barbecues, awesome outfits, cool deocations,and such. The contestant we deem the winner will get tickets to Buzz Beach Ball with Phoenix, Awolnation, Alt-J, Cage The Elephant and more in September. Get those photos in by midnight on July 5 to show us your patriotism.
Public Occurrences, Episode 31: College Radio, June 29, 2013
This week’s Public Occurrences features an interview with Nikki Leskinen, a former station manager of the online college radio station KRFH.net. We discuss the difficult decisions, rewards, and accomplishments of a job in media management. The Guardian’s revelations about the NSA and new information about the IRS targeting of political groups is also covered.
Public Occurrences, Episode 30: Particle Physics, June 22, 2013
Jason Beets discusses scientific method, the discovery of the Higgs boson, the standard model with Public Occurrences Science Correspondent Anthony Williams. They discuss the frontiers of particle physics, supersymmetry, dark matter and dark energy, and string theory.
Public Occurrences, Episode 29: Stereotypes in the Media 2, June 15, 2013
Lindsey Staab, Steven Geist, Valerie Good-Turney, and Kaitlin Myers presented a lecture on Stereotypes in the media for their media ethics class in Spring 2013. This episode of Public Occurrences is part 2 of that lecture. This episode analyzes the portrayal of Jews, Christians, and Homosexuals in the news and entertainment media.
Public Occurrences, Episode 28: Stereotypes in the Media 1, June 8, 2013
Lindsey Staab, Steven Geist, Valerie Good-Turney, and Kaitlin Myers presented a lecture on Stereotypes in the media for their media ethics class in Spring 2013. This episode of Public Occurrences is part 1 of that lecture. This episode analyzes the portrayal of African-Americans and Muslims in news, entertainment, and advertising.