Man City cruise to victory over Sporting KC

Kelechi Iheanacho, Benny Feilhaber

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By TATE STEINLAGE 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Manchester City has added an extra piece of silverware to its trophy cabinet. The first of its 2014-15 campaign.

In a battle of reigning league champions, Manchester City captured the Champions Shield with an easy 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in front of a crowd of 18,484 at Sporting Park.

The Sky Blues struck early and consistently, finding the back twice each half, while Sporting KC saw just one attempt find the back of the net on a night where 41 different players saw the field.

“It’s a great team for us to play for a number of reasons,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said after the match. “Obviously for us our focus is the league. We’re playing a big game on Saturday and that’s where our concentration was and is. Our biggest thing was that we wanted to get out of here unscathed, (because) as you know we’ve had quite a few injuries over the course of the season. From that perspective, everybody got out of there with no injuries, which is great.

“It was a good environment. It was a good game for us. It was a good 45 minutes for both groups, (and) it was good experience. Now we get focused on the game we have to get ready for and that’s Toronto.”

Manchester City needed just three minutes to kick off its U.S tour with a goal. Bruno Zuculini was able to take advantage of a botched clearance and fire a wonder strike past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Dom Dwyer nearly equalized the match moments later with a fine goal himself, but the play was correctly ruled offside by the assistant referee.

The rally would finally pay off in the 30th minute, though, as CJ Sapong put away Sporting KC’s lone goal of the evening. As it was so many times last week, the sequence was a result of the excellent service of Benny Feilhaber. The midfielder spotted Sapong’s perfectly-timed run and connected exquisitely to set up the calm finish.

Manchester City would regain the lead seconds before the halftime whistle on a Dedryck Boyata header and would not look back from there.

Sporting KC threw 12 different players at Manchester City in the second half — 11 of which out of the halftime break — and the Sky Blues responded with two goals in the final 15 minutes from Aleksandar Kolarov and Kelechi Iheanacho to secure the Champions Shield trophy and a first victory on American soil in 2014.

“I think that today the people who came to the stadium saw a good game, especially in the first 45 minutes when the two teams played with their best player,” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said after the match. “I think that for us it was very useful because when Sporting KC changed the 11 players for the second half it was useful because it was a very physical game when we’re now in preseason.

“The score of the game doesn’t matter, I think it’s always important to win. I understand that Sporting KC was thinking of the weekend and their very important game against Toronto. For us we have a lot of players at the moment who aren’t with our squad so its useful that the other players have a chance to demonstrate what they can do.”

Manchester City will now travel to Pittsburgh to face AC Milan in the opening game of their International Champions Cup campaign. Sporting KC will look to regroup after the loss as they head to Toronto for a weekend clash against Toronto FC.

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15 Responses to Man City cruise to victory over Sporting KC

  1. Kosh says:

    This like the TFC game were watchable for long stretches, For those two games the MLS teams played some decent soccer for a while, Now mind you that was decent soccer against world class powers in preseason so I don’t think the games are that close when both teams are in season and playing for higher stakes.

    These games are money makers and a way for MLS to try and get the attention of some local folks who love the game but just not our flavor of it…yet. In that sense I have no beef with these games. But the MLS teams are in mid season and have serious games coming up this weekend. Plus getting into then payoffs is harder these days than years past. You know the MLS teams are not going to play their best for long in a meaningless exhibition in those cases, and thus the ugly scores.

    This is why I will watch these games on TV but never pay to go to them. These are the best teams in the world and should be beating MLS teams. But to watch them gut MLS B and C teams? Why would I want to pay for that? I get it some fans want to pay to see their stars in person and that’s cool.

    Like I said the score lines for the KC and TFC games were fair but there was some good soccer in some parts of those games. Now for the other MLS team that played on the night…not so much.

  2. Kosh says:

    MLS fans should have watched the in-season match between SJ and Chicago. Now that’s a score line worth getting upset about…well only if you are a Fire fan. Sweet googly moogly – what happened there?!?!

  3. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Ashame! We (MLS fans) with Man City playing cruise control and without key players.

  4. AP says:

    A strange score line, which reflected the quality of the finishers on the field for Man City.
    This was not a 4-1 game. I was impressed with Sporting’s “B-Side”, they showed no fear, if not naiveté.

    • Kosh says:

      + 1

      This was where the difference in quality is right now – the finishing. Soccer wise this game was fun to watch and KC (as well as TFC in the second half) played with these teams and in some stretches pressured them.

      Like I said, full squads the MLS team will and should lose more than they win. But the games will not be blowouts.

      • Scott e Dio93 says:

        I agree: There’s lack in quality finishers, in North America. I notice there’s few USNT players can’t scorer outside the box and freekicks.

  5. Colonel Angus says:

    Pittsburg?

    Game vs. Milan is in Pittsburgh.

  6. SilverRey says:

    Any run down on the other games?

  7. pitch invasion says:

    Being there, the biggest differences I saw were the quality of passing (especially on long passes), quality of runs off the ball and just the overall size and physicality of Man City. They shrugged off tackles that would have won the ball in MLS and were dominant in the air. There were plenty of times (especially in the 2nd half) when it looked like Sporting was a U-18 side going up against the senior side.

    • quozzel says:

      I was still impressed by the KC system even with 11 subs out there. They weren’t as sharp as the first group – obviously – but they zipped the ball around well, connected passes, pressed up the field, and in general did what SKC does. Good system, and a well-coached bunch that knew who they were and how to be effective…and they showed decent depth, especially for an MLS side, and had their chances. Lot of interesting young players in that group. Saw similar things out of Seattle the other day against Tottenham.

      Compare that with the second team on the LA Galaxy and it was an absolute horror show. Bruce Arena and the LA management have some ‘splaining to do, because the Galaxy’s bench is absolutely terrible and I couldn’t spot a discernible system when they were out there. Saw similar badness out of Toronto’s youngsters – who actually mostly started the game against Tottenham. Couldn’t string three passes together to save their own lives.

      There’s some good coaching and development going on in MLS – some places. But there’s a big drop-off from the teams at the top – Seattle, SKC – to even the teams just under them in the table. LA Galaxy in particular were an absolute horror show…and hate to say it, that Galaxy team may be getting real close to the point where they need a rebuild and a new coach. They’re still fair-to-decent with their starting 11 out but they do NOT look like one of the elite teams in MLS anymore and their lack of depth is troubling.