Early goal lifts Sporting Kansas City over D.C. United

D.C. United remains winless on the year after falling to Sporting Kansas City 1-0.

Sporting Kansas City
1 0
D.C. United
Sporting Kansas City: Melia; Medranda, Besler, Opara, Zusi; Espinoza, Sanchez, Gutierrez (Croizet, min. 53); Russell, Shelton, Salloi (Fernandes, min. 78)
D.C. United : Ousted; Mora (Kelly, min. 88), Birnbaum, Brillant, DeLeon; Asad, Acosta, Durkin, Segura (Stieber, min. 78), Arriola (Mullins, min. 82); Mattocks
SCORE: 1-0, min. 4, Gutierrez.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo (USA).

An early mistake and failure to create clear-cut chances meant Sporting Kansas City was able to defeat D.C. United

Felipe Gutierrez's effort deflected off of Frederic Brillant's foot and found the back of the net to give SKC an early 1-0 lead. The home side was able to hold steady and take all three points. 

Early mistake digs a hole for D.C.

If there was something to epitomize D.C. United’s recent play, a strong candidate is the opening goal for Sporting Kansas City. After United failed to clear the ball in the fourth minute, Felipe Gutierrez put in a cross that deflected off of D.C. defender Frederic Brillant and past David Ousted, giving the home side an early 1-0 lead.

The remainder of the first half outside of an effort from Yamil Asad was dominated by chances form Sporting Kansas City. Just before the half Jimmy Medranda had a powerful strike go just above the crossbar. The United defense and saves from Ousted kept it at 1-0, which is what the score looked like heading into halftime.

“The start was terrible,” Olsen said. “For the rest of the game, they had some looks but they were low percentage … They’re an aggressive team. The chances will come.”

Bright start, but no result

The start of the second half saw United in a much more lively manner. The first half didn’t see many clear-cut opportunities, but D.C. was able to create a few opportunities in the first five minutes of the half. Unfortunately for Olsen’s side, none of them were able to find the back of the net.

Steve Birnbaum and Ousted came to the rescue for United multiple times over the course of the match. In the 59th minute, Khiry Shelton tested Ousted, but the Danish keeper did well to palm it away. This was soon followed by a good chance for Acosta to equalize, but the SKC defense was able to stifle the Argentinian’s dance through the box.

A quick counter-attack from the black and red saw Paul Arriola lay it off to Darren Mattocks, but as Mattocks tried to round SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia, Mattocks couldn’t get a good ball into the box and instead it went out for a corner.

Some attacking substitutions were made by Olsen later in the second half, but D.C. United couldn’t find an equalizer. The game finished 1-0 in favor of Sporting Kansas City.

Takeaways

The first half for D.C. United wasn’t pretty, but the adjustments made at halftime increased the chances right away. Too many “decent” chances and no clear chances prevented United to build on solid attacks. Ousted played well between the sticks, but the defense didn’t seem fully composed. Mattocks also had a less than stellar game, as a few chances ended with him losing the ball or not being able to create a solid chance.

--What’s next?

D.C. has a break until April 14, in which it’ll host its second “home” game of the season against the Columbus Crew. Sporting Kansas City travels to Los Angeles to face the LA Galaxy, who are coming off of a dramatic 4-3 win over Los Angeles Football Club.