Sometimes you get really happy when you call your own shot, and after Teal Bunbury struck for two in the first fifteen minutes, I should have gone out and bought some lottery tickets. Alas, my prognostications continued to come true as the Colorado Rapids stormed back to earn a well deserved draw. The match will not go down in the annals of history as a gem of the beautiful game, but sometimes a draw where neither side wasted their limited chances can be seen for what it is.
Welcome Back, Good Teal
When you score two goals, you are allowed to smile. Yet Teal Bunbury didn't even budge after either, almost as if he'd been doing that all season long. While not exactly the on the field character of CJ Sapong, Teal does possess the most potential and greatest finishing ability, given he's in the right place. The first goal was a mix of perfect timing on his run and clinical finishing. The second was a goal scorer's goal (known worldwide as either the Van Nistelrooy or El Chicarito, depending on your Man U viewing age) as it fell neatly onto his left foot where he calmly tapped it into an open net.
I still feel Peter Vermes doesn't exactly know what to do with his two strikers, as Teal's touch and hold-up play still leaves much to be desired. After conceding the first goal, it may have been wise to bring on Sapong to hold up play more as he does, and later to bring him on alongside Bunbury since having three central midfielders did nothing for possession. However, if Teal finds his scoring and CJ gets rested up and becomes early season CJ again, there are worse problems to have for a manager.
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
There is a casual recklessness to Roger Espinoza that is admirable. Like how you just knew James Dean was going to die in a car crash, you know Roger's going to get some red cards from time to time. It's not a enviable trait, but it's in his DNA. However, at this moment, it was probably the worst thing that could happen to Sporting KC as Espinoza has been their best midfielder and perhaps best player on the season.
In this game, the lack of midfield control was evident even while the goals came early. Graham Zusi doesn't have the motor to press at the same pace, and when he does successfully, simply lacks the Zusi to pass to to start the offense. Paulo Nagamura tried at times, but too often sat deeper with Julio Cesar and not in the positive way of holding possession from deep. Peterson Joseph, in only his second ever MLS match, showed a slight moment of offensive ability, but ultimately the value of Espinoza was never more clearly displayed.
Tyrone Marshall Owned The Second Half
Most of the time I try to keep the focus on Sporting KC as this is a KC site, but sometimes the hat must be tipped to the opponent. As goals go, there was nothing outstanding about Marshall's goal. The remarkable thing is it doesn't seem like he's making the right run, and then Kei Kamara shoves him back both creating the separation he needed and putting him right in the ball's path. The finish was perfect and gave Colorado the confidence boost to press forward and earn another free kick, goal, and the draw.
After the second goal, Marshall stopped several breakaways, helped neutralize Teal Bunbury, and blocked a couple of shots. It was a performance much like we are used to seeing out of our center backs and nothing less was expected of the veteran defender. If not for his timely interventions, Sporting KC may have run away with this match and Colorado would still be begging for answers. Now, each team comes out of the game with a little hope and we expect a realization that no regular season match between these two teams will ever end in a result.