Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3 is the magic number

Afternoon everyone

Sporting KC have been knocked off the top of the Eastern Conference after falling 2-1 to Chicago Fire at Toyota Park last weekend; but also due to the persistence from New York Red Bulls.

Let me take you back to the Friday when we traveled to Chicago. We got in at about 9pm from Kansas City, loaded up all the equipment and eventually got to the hotel at 11.30pm. We just about had enough time to grab a bite to eat and a couple of beers before we called it a night. The next day I had to make use of the fantastic gym facilities at the 'swissotel', where we stayed in downtown Chicago. I had a wonderful view of Lake Michigan from the running machine and its beauty helped me through the absurdly diabolical and painful run (I need to get fit again!).

After taking 1 more final look at my notes I headed to the stadium with Kristen Bock (@kbock2241), Mike Flaherty (@kitmanskc) and Chet North (who was taking part in his 500th MLS game as head trainer with Sporting KC! Well done Chet!). Kristen and I met up with the TV boys and had plenty of discussion about some of the new things we were going to try out during the broadcast. We think we had a very good broadcast and were happy with the final delivery. It was the first time we were broadcasting on stations (other then MLS Live and direct kick) other then KSMO. The viewing figures were good and we hope all the new viewers liked what they saw; if so we'll see you again this weekend in Colorado.

In terms of the game and Sporting KC's 3rd loss in a row. I remember tweeting out that there's no need to panic. This is soccer, it happens throughout the season. Every team will go through some sort of run like this, but its just about weathering the storm. I thought Convey's 1st goal for the club was well taken after excellent work from Espinoza. I thought Sporting weren't at their best by any stretch, but they seemed to be controlling the game in the 1st half. Chicago came out in the 2nd half with all guns blazing. The penalty at the time was an interesting call. I've seen the replay today and Collin slides the ball away from Oduro, but the ball then deflects off Oduro's left leg and continues in the way that he's running. Looking at it from where the ref was, it looks to him that Collin got non of the ball and it rolls in the same direction as Oduro (usually signaling that there was no contact with the ball). Grazzini stepped up and placed the ball beautifully in the top corner, leaving Neilsen with no chance. The red card for me IS a red card. Yes there's the argument that Espinoza is using his arms for balance, but, that left arm does come up higher then it should. I think its clumsy more then anything, doubt there was any intent at all. The winning goal of the game, was poor defensively from Sporting KC. That'll hurt them this week.

Its on to Colorado Rapids this week, Jake (@jakeyadrich) and I will be on 610 on Thursday at 6pm to preview the game. Working on guests right now, so keep your ears pealed. We'll be on KSMO, WIBW,  My TV Wichita and My TV Topeka on Saturday so check your listings for details. Pre game show will start at 7.30pm CT.

See you there!



Monday, May 7, 2012

A message from the north

Afternoon all

Hope this post finds you in good ways.

So Sporting KC fell to their first home defeat of the season last weekend. I think we were all expecting it to come at some stage this season, but with all due respect, I think there were very few of us who thought it would have come this weekend at the hands of Montreal Impact.

Due to a change in schedule, last weeks radio show was moved to Wednesday and meant I called upon fellow Englishman James Starrit (@sporting_times) to help me host the show on 610. Despite several late changes, I enjoyed the show, the input from you guys and thought it was nice to have James back on a temporary basis.

I must admit, after spending most of the week doing the usual prep, I was very excited to get back on the call. Obviously we'd previously had a bye weekend (which was lovely). Its always nice to have a weekend off, but I really do miss being on the call when this is the case.

So on we went to the game vs Montreal Impact. I don't think I was the only one who was surprised when we heard whispers that Montreal would give MLS debut's to two new center backs. Nelson Rivas was somebody I was familiar with, having seen him previously play for Inter Milan. Hassoun Camara was the one I was quite surprised with. He'd won the NASL MVP title for Montreal Impact, which lead to be question why he had yet to make his MLS debut. Either way, when it was confirmed, I thought they both looked outstanding. We all knew that Montreal where going to come to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and look to remain deep and keep it tight. They did exactly that, better then most would have expected. Rivas won everything in the air and was very rarely caught out of position or possession. You could really tell at times that he'd played at the top level and with him still only being twenty nine, he still has a lot to offer. I thought the partnership between both him and Camara was excellent, it was as if they'd played together for years. Sporting were unable to find any sort of way through Montreal who held their own against the team top of the East. I had a chat with our former player Davy Arnaud before the match, he told me some great things about head coach Jesse Marsch, claiming that he certainly 'has something about him'. I thought tactically, Marsch got it spot on and his side came out with what could be viewed as there most impressive victory all season. The first goal was a fantastic strike from Felipe. Though I thought the back line should have stepped up quicker, it was quite simply excellent. The penalty I thought was a penalty. At first I thought Collin got the ball but on a second and third viewing, i'm convinced that Neagle was taken down.

I think we need to walk away from this one and scratch it off as a 'bad day at the office'. Everybody in the world is entitled to one of those once in a while. Not that we needed it, but perhaps it could also serve as a bit of a reality check. We know we're good, but lets take one game at a time and get the job done. I know this result will be killing the players inside and now we have two tough away games at Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids. However, you have to give credit to Montreal Impact for claiming arguably the most surprising result of the week.

I have to commend the fans once again, you guys were so loud at LSP and I know the players appreciate it.

In terms of us and TV, I think we had a great broadcast and despite not getting the result we all wanted, it was still a good game of soccer and was really fun to call. Jake (@jakeyadrich) and I will be on 610 at the usual time of 6pm on Thursday before we see you all in Chicago on KSMO - TV at 7pm.

See you all soon.