Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2011

Live from opening night at LSP: Sporting KC vs. Chicago Fire

June 9, 2011, 7:06 p.m.

Updated: June 9, 2011, 11:07 p.m.

— Good evening from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the brand spankin' new home of Major League Soccer in Kansas City.

A project 16 months in the works, Sporting Kansas City is set to show off its new digs at 9 p.m. today against the Chicago Fire.

Sporting Club showed off the new facility to media members on Tuesday, and now it's open for the fans to check out. By 6 p.m. fans already were trickling into the seats, most of them circling the concourse and checking out the views.

For those who can't make it to the stadium, the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.


It's 20 minutes until kickoff. The concourse is packed, and the seats are filling quickly. The Cauldron behind the visiting net is rocking with about a dozen flags waving and fans chanting and heckling the Chicago players.

Both teams are about to return to the locker rooms for final preparations before game time.

Kansas City's projected starters are goalkeeper Eric Kronberg; defenders Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Michael Harrington; midfielders Davy Arnaud and Graham Zusi; and forwards Kei Kamra, Omar Bravo, Ryan Smith and Teal Bunbury.

Chicago projected starters are goalkeeper Sean Johnson; defenders Gonzlo Segares, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta and Bratislav Ristic; midfielders Corben Bone, Logan Pause, Daniel Paladini and Davis Paul; and forwards Diego Chaves and Dominic Oduro.


A standing-room-only crowd is on hand for the grand opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, and it was treated to a first half dominated by Sporting Kansas City but without any goals scored.

Kansas City outshot Chicago 5-4 in the first half but dominated time of possession and created numerous additional dangerous opportunities before the Fire defense cleared the ball.

Sporting also held a 4-2 corner kick advantage in the first half.

Kansas City spent the bulk of the first half applying pressure on the Fire goal. The first opportunity came in the eighth minute when midfielder Omar Bravo connected with forward Teal Bunbury for a shot from 15 yards that sailed wide right.

Chicago countered with a beautiful four-player combination in the ninth minute. The Fire worked the ball from right to left, beginning with Dominic Oduro, feeding through Gaston Puerari and Daniel Paladini and ending with Corben Bone's shot from point-blank range at the back post. Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's leaping save thwarted the chance, however.

Kansas City came back moments later with a breakaway by Teal Bunbury, but his shot from 15 yards was corralled by Chicago keeper Sean Johnson.

Sporting appeared to draw first blood in the 15th minute when midfielder Kei Kamara was dragged to the pitch by his jersey by Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares. No foul was called, however, and Kamara unleashed a cross that reached midfielder Graham Zusi at the back post. Zusi's tap-in set off a jubilant celebration inside LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, but it was followed shortly by boos when the goal was waved off due to an offsides penalty.

Each team had a handful of chances the rest of the half but failed to capitalize.


Announced attendance for the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is 19,925 fans.


It has been an even second half with minimal scoring opportunities for both teams.

Kansas City's Kei Kamara had a point-blank opportunity in the 66th minute that was blocked.

Chicago threatened in the 67th minute when Dominic Oduro attempted to play a bouncing ball out of the air. Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen charged out of the box, leaped and batted the ball away. He'd jumped beyond the 18-yard box, however, and was whistled for a red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. Chicago's ensuing direct kick was buried into the Kansas City wall.

Kamara had another chance in the 74th minute, but his line-drive blast from 25 yards narrowly missed to the right.

10:48 P.M. — 81 MINUTES

Chicago blew a golden opportunity in the 81st minute when Daniel Paladini fired a shot that bounced off Kansas City backup keeper Eric Kronberg's chest. The ball deflected to Orr Barouch whose shot hit the near post.

Moments later, another unofficial goal was scored when, in the 82nd minute, a fan dressed in a cow suit jumped on the field, dribbled to the Chicago goal and scored to a roar of applause before ultimately being tackled by security — to a roar of boos.


Another apparent missed call has cost Sporting Kansas City a goal-scoring opportunity. in the 86th minute, Omar Bravo was tripped hard from behind inside the penalty area. No foul was called on the play.

10:58 P.M. — NINE MINUTES?

The fourth official just determined there will be a minimum of NINE minutes of stoppage time. Curious what the MLS record is?

11:07 P.M. — FINAL

After nine minutes of stoppage time, the first game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park has ended in a 0-0 draw.


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