FC Dallas v Sporting Kansas City

Drilling down on: Sporting Kansas City 2, FC Dallas 1


Man of the Match: When he had his early second half penalty saved, Kei Kamara looked set for another “everything but the goal” performance. In the 88th minute, that changed, and deservedly so, as Kamara stabbed a Chance Myers pass past Kevin Hartman for the game-winning goal.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Kansas City showed why they’re the favorite in the East. Graham Zusi’s distribution from the middlle (or, from dead balls, as was the case on the first goal) can take advantage of Kei Kamara’s skills, Chance Myers’ ability to blaze forward, and C.J. Sapong’s strength in the middle. With the exception of Sapong’s, all those qualities were needed for the game-winner.
  • On the other flank, however, you have to wonder if Bobby Convey’s going to work. The former Earthquake left-sider was a non-factor, and he seems a poor fit for the system Peter Vermes has deployed. At left back? Sure. That would be great! At his preferred, left midfield role? Perhaps in a 4-4-2, but not in KC’s system, where he’s playing a more advanced position. He needs to play left back or not at all.
  • Roger Espinoza has a (voted on) reputation as a dirty player, but on Sunday, he was refreshingly clinical with his tackles – a smart, steadying influence in the middle.
  • The same can not be said for KC’s back line. All four defenders were guilty of one atrocious foul. Seth Sinovic left a foot in on Blas Perez in the 11th minute. Aurelien Collin ran through the elevated Panamanian at midfield, putting a shoulder into the Dallas forward’s lower back (and sending him to ground). Chance Myers nearly sent Ricardo Villar with a yellow-drawing challenge, and Matt Besler’s cynical foul through the back of Andrew Jacobson’s leg could have seriously hurt the former Golden Bear.
  • Speaking of Jacobson, Dallas continues to see the benefits (present and future) from their implied swap of him for former Dallas-favorite Dax McCarty. Jacobson’s calm and physical presence in midfield continue to be a good pairing with Daniel Hernández, with the tandem set to truly pay-off once David Ferreira makes a full return to the team.
  • Although he didn’t get any decent chances on goal, Blas Perez continues to show why he was one of the most under-appreciated acquisitions of the winter. Everybody knew he’d physically be a handful for MLS defenses, but today, the challenges he posed Besler and Collin resulted from his movement and passing. In the first half, he went wide (to the right of Collin), chased down a diagonal ball, and made two more small plays in the sequence to create a chance for Bryan Leyva. In the second half, his backheel flick wide to Jair Benitez put the Colombian behind a high KC line, the defender-cum-midfielder’s resulting ball through the six nearly giving Jacobson a go-ahead goal.
  • Quietly, this was a very impressive performance by KC. It’s three points from a good side, one that played a rather defensive lineup. From the mid-point of the first half, KC controlled the game, though it look liked an experienced FCD squad would hold out for a point. The execution of the game-winning goal was eye-opening, the timing of which showing KC can generate goals when they’re needed most, and against one of the league’s better defenses. That says a lot.

Sunderland yet to make approach for Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley
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Former U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley has emerged as one of the front-runners to take over at Premier League side Sunderland.

However, ProSoccerTalk can confirm that Sunderland have yet to make an approach to his current club, Stabaek, about talking to Bradley, 57, about their vacant managerial positions. But the American coach — who has also been linked with taking over at Norwegian giants Molde — is currently able to speak with other clubs himself as his contract runs out in November.

If Bradley does end up at Stadium of Light, he will become the first American to manage in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea statement on Mourinho ]

Bradley has led tiny Norwegian outfit Stabaek to second place in the Tippeligaen with four games of the 2015 season remaining, and the former Chicago Fire, New York MetroStars, USMNT and Egypt head coach has worked wonders in just his second season in charge of the modest club in Oslo’s suburbs who were only promoted to Norway’s top-flight for the 2014 campaign.

His current deal runs out at Stabaek in the coming months, with Bradley telling ProSoccerTalk last month that the club believes there “needs to be an opportunity at a higher league” for Bradley and it is clear Stabaek wouldn’t stand in his way if this move came to fruition and he had to leave his role early. He also added that “when we get to the end of the year we will size up everything and figure it out.”

[ SPORTSWORLD: Bradley’s Norwegian journey – “That’s Football” ]

That suggests that the man who led the U.S. to the Confederations Cup final in 2009 and the World Cup last 16 in 2010 may well see out the final four games of the season at Stabaek, which would mean he wouldn’t arrive at Sunderland until November 8 at the earliest. That’s unlikely to happen but with Rosenborg eight points clear of Stabaek at the top of the Tippeligaen with four games to go, results in the next matchday could mean Stabaek’s title hopes will be over on October 17. If that is the case, Bradley will still likely want to stick around and finish his two-year project with European qualification but the lure of a move to manage in the world’s most recognizable league could be too much of a pull.

Other candidates for the Sunderland job include former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson and Sam Allardyce who are the joint favorites ahead of Bradley, plus Burnley manager Sean Dyche is also being linked with the role. Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of taking the job, while Pearson and Allardyce are also believed to be unsure. 

The job at Sunderland has become a poisoned chalice in recent seasons with many managers wary of damaging their reputation by joining the Black Cats. American owner Ellis Short has pumped millions into the north east club but players under-performing and managerial instability has riddled the Mackems as they once again find themselves in a perilous situation after a few weeks of the season. In each of the last two campaigns both Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat led Sunderland to dramatic late escapes from relegation, while the latter left his role on Sunday after failing to secure a victory in the opening eight games of the current PL season which leaves the Black Cats in 19th spot on three points. Advocaat was heavily critical of the directors and said that “the squad is too thin” upon departing the Stadium of Light.

If Bradley is offered the chance to take on the mammoth challenge of rescuing Sunderland from relegation, a task of that magnitude is not alien to him after he led the Egyptian national team through a revolution to the brink of the 2014 World Cup and has worked miracles at Stabaek, a club with one of the smallest stadiums and budgets in Norwegian soccer, where he has them challenging for the title and they’ve reached the cup semifinals in each of his two seasons in charge so far. 

Many fans of U.S Soccer would believe now is the time for Bradley to show what he can do in a top league in Europe. 

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

[ MORE: Donovan believes Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.