KANSAS CITY, KAN. (March 8, 2015) - The New York Red Bulls opened the 2015 campaign with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday evening at Sporting Park in Kansas City. A Lloyd Sam blast in the 54th minute pulled New York even, but the Red Bulls failed to score in the final 20 minutes against a 10-man Sporting side.
Both sides came out strong and traded chances in the first half. In the 8th minute, a corner played short to SKC defender Seth Sinovic gave the Kanas City native space to fire a curling shot from the top-left of the penalty area, requiring a full-stretch diving save from Red Bulls 'keeper Luis Robles.
After weathering a flurry of chances from Sporting in the first 25 minutes the Red Bulls pressed the issue for the final 20 of the first half. New York's best chance of half came in the 37thminute, when a Sporting corner was cleared to midfielder Mike Grella, who took a touch with his head and ran into space. Grella cut over midfield and found Bradley Wright-Phillips, who played a ball through for Felipe. The Brazilian's first touch to the left made the angle too great, and Sporting 'keeper Luis Marin was able to cut off the ensuing shot.
Grella was back on the attack minutes later, cutting down the left side of the box, but his shot went off the outside of the netting. That chance was countered by Kansas City when a pass from Graham Zusi found Dom Dwyer in space, but Dwyer's low cross skittered along the face of the net and out for a goal kick.
Despite each team's chances, the sides headed to the locker room scoreless after 45 minutes.
Sporting broke that deadlock five minutes into the second half, when a prolonged possession found Benny Feilhaber cutting down the right side and flashing in a cross that was headed home by defender Ike Opara from the edge of the six yard box.
It did not take long for the Red Bulls to answer. In the 54th minute Lloyd Sam controlled the ball at the top of the penalty area, cutting left and taking a touch back into space to blast a right-footed shot that curled out of the reach of Marin and just inside the right post.
KC continued to threaten in the 62nd minute, when a long ball into the box was headed down by Dwyer into the path of Zusi, but the angle proved too steep for Zusi to finish at the left post.
A hard foul from Matt Besler in the 71st minute earned the Kansas City captain his second yellow card of the game and saw Sporting reduced to ten men for the duration of the contest.
New York pressed the advantage over the next 15 minutes, but could not connect on several chances in the final third, highlighted by an 82nd minute Chris Duvall cross that was headed just out of the reach of Bradley Wright-Phillips, a 25-yard half-volley from second-half sub Matt Miazga that went just over the bar, and a left-footed attempt from Sam inside the penalty area.
Sporting had a pair of late chances to try and steal the game. In the 89th minute a quick turnover in the Red Bulls' half saw a ball flashed across the box and put just wide by Dwyer. Dwyer had another chance in the 91st minute, running onto a long ball behind the defense, but Robles got himself in front of the shot to preserve the draw and the point.
New York is back in action on Sunday, March 22 when the sixth season of soccer at Red Bull Arena kicks off against Atlantic Cup rival D.C. United at 5:00 p.m. ET.
- SKC: Ike Opara 1 (Feilhaber 1) 51’
- NY: Lloyd Sam 1 (unassisted) 54’
- SKC: Besler, Caution 30’, Ejection 71’
- NY: Wright-Phillips, Caution, 80’
- NY: Kljestan, Caution, 85’
- NY: Luis Robles, Chris Duvall, Ronald Zubar (Matt Miazga 77’), Damien Perrinelle, Roy Miller, Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty CAP, Felipe (Anatole Abang, 84’), Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella (Sal Zizzo, 68’), Bradley Wright-Phillips
- SKC: Luis Marin, Amadou Dia, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi (Eric Palmer-Brown 84’), Krisztian Nemeth (Jacob Peterson, 77’) , Bernardo Anor (Nagamura, 61’), Dom Dwyer