Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sporting KC ties Newcastle United in international friendly

July 21, 2011

Sporting Kansas City earned a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United FC on Wednesday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

A crowd of 16,131 was on hand to witness the first international friendly at the new stadium.

The match was the first for the Barclays Premier League club on their preseason tour of the United States.

Three Sporting Kansas City newcomers made their inaugural appearances with the first team in a match that saw plenty of chances and plenty of personnel changes throughout the 90 minutes as both managers gave match action to as many players as possible.

Newcastle had the first chance of the match when, in the ninth minute, forward Hatem Ben Arfa took possession 30 yards out, stormed past the defense and earned a one-on-one situation with Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg. Ben Arfa's touch past Kronberg took him over the endline, however.

Three minutes later, Sporting Kansas City earned its first chance of the match. Advancing down the left flank, fullback Seth Sinovic whipped a cross into the area for a rising Kei Kamara, but the forward failed to get enough power on the header as it sailed off target.

In the 15th minute, Sinovic was once again at the center of a chance for Sporting Kansas City. With the ball on the left, Sinovic played a pass to Omar Bravo making a run toward the touchline. Bravo let the ball run through his legs for newly-acquired Designated Player Jéferson, who drove his shot inches wide of the far post.

Newcastle earned the best chance of the half for both sides in the 22nd minute. Some quality combination play between Jonas Gutierrez and Sylvain Marveaux saw the winger slipped through on goal. Marveaux put his low effort under Kronberg, but across the face of goal and out of play.

The next trip down the pitch for Sporting Kansas City saw perhaps its best chance of the half as Kamara played a low cross into the area that made its way through several sets of legs before falling for Jéferson. The Brazilian struck it first time with his left foot, but the effort fizzed over the bar.

Halftime saw both sides make plenty of changes, with Sporting Kansas City in particular looking to introduce fresh legs as the home side made eight substitutions to start the second half.

In the 65th minute, substitute Soony Saad tallied the first shot on target for either side. Following a blocked shot, Birahim Diop’s pressure forced a loose ball to Saad. Collecting with his back to goal, Saad wasted no time testing Krul, who collapsed to his left to hold Saad’s right-footed effort.

Just a minute later, Milos Stojcev was denied brilliantly by Krul. A cross in from the right from midfielder Luke Sassano found Stojcev unmarked from eight yards out. The midfielder put his header downward towards goal, but Krul was able to get across and push Stojcev’s effort around the post.

After pushing forward into a midfield position, Gutierrez nearly created the winner for Newcastle in the 84th minute when his left-footed cross was met in the area by Danny Simpson. Simpson latched onto the cross, hitting it first time out of the air, but his effort was straight at Kronberg who smothered the shot on his goal line.

In the 90th minute, C.J. Sapong put an effort on target that nearly beat Krul to the far post. With his back to goal, Sapong turned in the area and curled an effortthat Krul stretched for and was able to hold.

Sporting Kansas City will resume MLS action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at home when the team hosts Toronto FC.

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