Mar 2, 2013, 6:35 PM EST
Sporting Kansas City surely has some work ahead in sorting out a midfield that needs plenty of sorting out.
But it was Graham Zusi to the rescue as the United States national team attacker put in an early bid for MLS Player of the Week, guiding his Sporting KC bunch to three points in a match where the club was surely not at its best, 3-1, over Philadelphia in Major League Soccer’s first 2013 contest.
SKC’s rebuilt midfield – not one of the SKC central triangle from 2012 was in his same spot for the 2013 opener – was an absolute mess to start this one. They could never gain a toehold in the middle with the ball. Without, SKC was worse.
Minus any pressure in the right spots in midfield against a motivated bunch from PPL Park, the visitors were completely exposed to balls over the top for Union striker Sebastian Le Toux, who was finding all the gaps and all the room behind the back line.
SKC came close to being overwhelmed, and Philly Union men will certainly rue the missed first-half chances.
But this is what difference-makers do.
Zusi scored the first goal on a quality, well-placed finish, a timely and invaluable equalizer just before the half. (With lots of help from a terrific header set-up by new DP Claudio Bieler.)
Zusi’s swell free kick – he’s known for those, you know – arranged the visitor’s second goal, with a big assist from some bad Union defending and unsure goalkeeping. (You Union fans feel free to stop us if you’ve heard all that before.)
And Zusi had those paw prints all over SKC’s third goal, making a big run to launch the attack and then supplying a telling ball into the penalty area, which Bieler turned into the late insurance strike, and his first MLS goal.
All the while, by the way, most of the effective SKC attacks had little to do with new midfield addition Benny Feilhaber, nor with left wing Bobby Convey, both of whom need big years to get their careers pointed the right way again. (Convey did help start the first goal, in fairness.)
But whenever Zusi drifted inside from his (sort-of) right wing spot, that’s when SKC’s attack really tended to work.
Zusi generated a little MVP chatter in 2012; he’ll generate a lot more with afternoons ahead like this one.
Match highlights are here:
Dec 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
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Dec 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
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Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins described Shea as a big addition to the squad.
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Altidore’s production for his country and in the Eredivisie prove he’s a much better player than his horrible spell at Sunderland.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
According to The Daily Express, Man Utd’s man if Mats Hummels won’t come over from Borussia Dortmund is Nicolas Otamendi of Valencia.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
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Dec 19, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
“He had to make a step back in his recovery,” said Southampton boss Ronald Koeman.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Villa Park hasn’t been a fortress for the Villans, and that’s underlined when bigger teams visit.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:10 AM EST
Sporting also added Hungarian striker Kristian Nemeth and Haitian mid James Marcellin.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:02 AM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out this weekend.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:06 AM EST
Mangala on visitors to the Etihad: “Normally, teams that are coming here play more defensively.”
Dec 19, 2014, 8:05 AM EST
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Dec 19, 2014, 7:45 AM EST
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Mix Diskerud is on the move, and he may be headed south of the border.
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Chicharito isn’t getting games for Real Madrid, but his agent insists he won’t end his loan deal early.
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It may be 14 years after the fact, but Paul Scholes is owning up to his fault in one of the greatest goals of all-time.
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Inspired by Monday’s loss, the USWNT were out for vengeance — and goals — against Argentina.
Dec 18, 2014, 4:36 PM EST
Find out who went where in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Thursday.
Dec 18, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
As we head into the busy festive season, here’s how the rankings of power look before Week 17.
- After failed odyssey abroad, Brek Shea returns to MLS with Orlando City 0
- Lille, Werder Bremen noted frontrunners for Jozy Altidore’s services 0
- WATCH: Premier League TV schedule – Week 17 0
- Another set back for Southampton: Jay Rodriguez’s nightmare year continues 0
- Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United 0
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Everton, Manchester United, Liverpool 0