Kei Kamara Gives Sporting KC 2-1 Win Over FC Dallas

Mar 25, 2012; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting KC midfielder Kei Kamara (23) is celebrates after scoring the winning goal against FC Dallas in the second half at Livestrong Sporting Park. Kansas City won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

FC Dallas fell to 1-1-1 on the early season, dropping a 2-1 result at Sporting Kansas City on an 88th minute finish by Kei Kamara on a fantastic cross from Chance Meyers. FC Dallas, once again playing without David Ferreira, Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo, enjoyed a very successful first half and were rewarded with the first goal of the game via a brilliant Ricardo Villar free kick in the 25th minute. Dallas would relinquish the lead late in the half as SKC finally capitalized on one of their dead ball opportunities with Aurelin Collin heading home a Graham Zusi free kick just seconds before halftime.

FC Dallas was forced to substitute Ricardo Villar at halftime due to an apparent elbow or shoulder injury on a hard challenge from Chance Meyers, bringing in Bobby Warshaw and giving Dallas three defensive midfielders in the center of the park. Without much offensive punch on the field, the majority of play went to Sporting Kansas City in the second half and they nearly took the lead in the 50th minute as Meyers was taken down by Ugo Ihemelu in the penalty box.

Kevin Hartman came up huge saving Kei Kamara's shot low to his right side preserving the 1-1 score. After many near-misses, Sporting finally took the lead in the 88th minute as Meyers cross found Kamara near post and the Sierra Leone forward finished the chance to give Sporting all three points and become the first MLS team to go 3-0-0 on the season.

A few thoughts on the game and quote sheet after the jump

Behind the 8 ball You've got to really feel for Schellas Hyndman and FCD as he was just so hamstrung by the players unavailable. As you saw tonight, Sporting is as good as anyone in the league down the wings with Kamara & Bobby Convey. There's size, speed and talent. With that in mind, Schellas was forced to start Bryan Leyva and Jair Benitez, two players that simply couldn't compete from a physical perspective. They battled valiantly, but it was just a little too much to ask.

Great effort After a somewhat lackluster second half against Portland, I have absolutely no problems with the effort FC Dallas put out there tonight. They really took the game to Kansas City in the first half and things went downhill once they lost the calming influence of Ricardo Villar on the pitch. As I said earlier, everything just was a bit too much to ask and it showed as the high pressure system of SKC broke down FC Dallas late in each half.

The testing of depth showed as there simply wasn't anyone of impact Hyndman could bring off the bench to change things. Normally a guy like Carlos Rodriguez would be brought in to add some possession to things and the SKC midfield would have been forced to sit much deeper with counter-attacking players like Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo on the pitch.

At the end of the day, SKC will probably prove to be one of the top 3 home teams in the league and Dallas nearly eked out a draw basically playing with third choices at three positions(Right mid, left mid, attacking mid(second half). They won't see these guys again this year unless they meet in MLS Cup, perhaps that's a good thing.

Revisiting the keys to the game Shut down the wings and limit the set pieces were the two things we keyed on before the match and seven corners, multiple dangerous free kicks in quick succession late in the first half and 22 crosses from open play during the game are a lot of chances to give a team like Kansas City. Again, a lot of it comes back to the personnel Schellas was forced to go with.

Kei Kamara Wow, was this guy dominant or what. His heat map is amazing, his 11 headers was more than anyone else on the team and his five shots on goal were four more than FC Dallas had all game. To think this guy was traded for Abe Thompson....wow.

After three games I think people should be encouraged by the first three games of the season. The way Blas Perez is playing has exceeded even my expectations and the defense has looked like a unit that is still figuring out who the best four people are, but once they figure it out they'll be successful. I said at the beginning of the month that I thought seven points would be a very good haul and nine would be great. That was before Fabian Castillo and David Ferreira were lost for the month. With three games upcoming against teams with one combined win(DC, NE, Montreal), I think Dallas has done enough so far and should rack up some points in the coming weeks.

Quote Sheet

FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman

On the physical play in the match…
We’re playing against a very good team, very strong, very athletic, very powerful.

They have a lot of weapons coming forward. It’s the way you play. If I’m telling you something you don’t know, then you need to follow another sport.

On the performance of Kei Kamara…

Excellent player. I think that if Kei Kamara had taken up another sport, he would be outstanding, as well. He puts it all on the field and he is very athletic. When you think you have guys who can jump pretty well, he goes six inches higher. He’s definitely one of the best players in the league.

On the injury to Ricardo Villar…

He’s the one who has the skills and the vision to break people down, to make the right passes, to hold the ball under pressure. Not having him out there, I thought that coming away with a point would have been a good accomplishment for our team.

On the team’s mentality going into the match…
We never go into a game trying to get a point. We’re trying to get a win. I think that we would have put ourselves in much better shape if we wouldn’t have given up the goal so late in the first half"

On Sporting Kansas City…
They are much further ahead than any other team in the league and they have a lot of weapons. They play a style of soccer that is very disruptive, both going forward and defending. I don’t think there is another team in the league playing at the level they are playing at.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

General thoughts on the match…

Obviously we’re disappointed. We got an early goal and I thought we possessed the ball well. Once we were up a goal we sat back a bit and tried to absorb the pressure and unfortunately we gave a goal up. That being said, we were able to overcome the penalty kick and a bunch of other things. I though we were in a position to leave with a point at a stadium where it’s really difficult to get points.

On the performance of Kei Kamara…
At the end, we just gave Kei Kamara too many opportunities. He’s a good player and he’s one of those players that you need to be aware of going into the game. Unfortunately we gave him one too many opportunities.

On FC Dallas’s plan going into the match…

I think that we are a team that wants to come in and play our game. We don’t necessarily want to go on the road and play in a shell. I don’t think my any means we did that in the first half. We really took the game to them. We got a free kick and a good position on the field and we were able to score early. Obviously when you’re on the road you want to be safe and respectful of the fact that you have that goal. Unfortunately at the end of the day Kansas City continued to bring it.

On giving up a late goal…

We gave up a goal late in the first half and late in the second half. We need to work on our time management and look at the clock and make sure we are aware of where we are in the game and what’s good enough on the road and what’s not good enough. Tonight I thought a point would be good enough and we deserve more than we got.

On saving Kei Kamara’s penalty…

I said to Kei, "I got this." I wasn’t sure of it but I wanted to get it in his head and fortunately I was able to get it around the post.

FC Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu

General thoughts on the match…

It was a disappointing game; we gave up late goals in both halves. Those are the times you have to be focused.

On giving up late goals in both halves…

The first goal was a set piece and we should have just been set. As for the last goal, I could have put myself in a better position but Sporting kept putting pressure on us and they scored.

On their expectations going into the match…

We just wanted to play our game but we knew Sporting is a good team and we knew how they play. We knew what to expect on certain plays. When you have the lead you have to maintain it going into halftime. You have to see the half out.

FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson

General thoughts on the match…

It sucks and it hurts that we didn’t win.

On playing Sporting Kansas City at home…

Everywhere we go we expect to win and get better than the week before. We came planning to win and we didn’t.

On what they will take away from the match…

The feeling of losing. It sucks.

Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes

General thoughts on the match…

The first half was a very slow, methodical pace that they set up. We knew that they were going to try to do that coming in here. I was a little disappointed because we knew it and we had talked about how we needed to do better with them trying to do that. We got too caught up in them getting fouls and slowing the game up. It changed our tempo and our pace. Just towards when we finally scored, we started to get a little bit of our tempo back."

On going down a goal for the first time in 2012…

The good thing about the guys is their resiliency. They believed that they were going to get back into the game and that is a good mentality to have, because not every game you are going to come out and doing everything perfectly, but you have to be able to respond well and I thought the second half was much better.

On if a draw would have felt like a loss…

FC Dallas is a good team. I don’t think you can take that away from them. Getting a point is always a good thing, but for us, we felt that we needed to get the 3 here at home. We have a few tough games coming up, one on the road this week against

Chivas, who just beat Real Salt Lake at their place. There is not a game that is easy in

MLS, so taking points at home is very important.

Sporting Kansas City defender Chance Myers

General thoughts on the match…

Obviously it took giving up a goal to wake us up and get us going. They came in and had their game plan to slow it down and take their time on ball. When they lost the ball, they would go back and sit back. We couldn’t really find the space to break them down. The second half, we found the space and stretched them a little bit.

Defensively, I though we were solid. Jimmy guided us the whole time. Offensively, we are going to create chances so we needed to be patient, and eventually, they came.

On the pass he received from Graham Zusi that led to Kei Kamara’s goal…

We worked on this in practice. The in-back-and-through, our pattern play up the right side with Kei and Graham and I. When we get rid of the ball, our objective is to get off and start running to find the space. It was kind of second nature. I played the ball the Graham and just started running. Kei read the placement well and I just slipped in right to him.

Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara

On scoring the game-winning goal shortly after missing a penalty kick in the second half…
Being a player, those are the situations you dream about, getting the game-winning goal. Any time you can do something like that for your team, it feels great. As a striker, sometimes you keep missing and keep missing. If you take your head out of it, you’ll never get going. So I just had to keep my composure and take any chance I had.

On Chance Myers’ pass to set up Kamara’s goal…
The connection we have on the right side is great. Chance has an engine—he’s going to go up and down the field all game. When I see him running like that, all I can do is just follow. I’m a goal scorer and I want to be in the right spot.

On Sporting Kansas City’s attacking form…
We’d like to see some more goals, but at the same time, we’ve got three points each game. If it’s just one goal a game, as long as we get the three points there’s no problem. And the thing about this team is that it really doesn’t matter who scores. All we want to do is win right now.

On playing in a physical, emotional match…
It’s a lot of fun. When the fans get into the game, they add energy and you want to keep going. It’s a brutal game at times. Dallas tried to slow the game down—in the first half we didn’t adjust to it, in the second half we did.

On the contrast between Sporting Kansas City’s first half and second half performances…
We picked up the energy and made more runs off the ball. We didn’t let Dallas decide how the game was going to be played.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza

On Dallas’s approach to the game…

Dallas tried to slow the game down, which made it tough for us in the first half. Every time there was a foul, they were taking their time. So it was a game we really had to grind out. They made nothing easy for us. It didn’t seem like they wanted to play, but we won the game, and that’s what matters.

On starting the season with three straight wins…

We had a strong end to last year, and we knew we could come out this year playing the same way, or even better. Our goal in the offseason was to get in great shape and continue playing well, and I think game by game we are getting better.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

On registering his fourth assist in three games…

It’s easy for me to play well when the team is playing well. Dallas is always a tough team to beat, but we’re high on confidence right now and we know we can get positive results every game.

On the importance of equalizing right before halftime…

That goal was huge for us. The first half, Dallas was able to control the momentum. It was a big for us to break through right at the end because we had some confidence going into halftime.

On Sporting Kansas City’s halftime adjustments…

Some of it was just a mental change. But also, we couldn’t allow them to control the pace of the game. They wanted to slow things down, but in the second half we did an excellent job of upping the tempo. We were in their half a lot of the time and it was only a matter of time before we got one.

On the game’s atmosphere…

Those fans are constantly making noise. They 100 percent believe we are going to win every game. It’s easier to push for the full 90 minutes when you have 18,000 people getting behind you.

On avenging Sporting Kansas City’s 3-2 home loss to Dallas last season…

It was a little bit of redemption for us. That memory hasn’t slipped our minds at all, so this win was a little extra sweet.

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