MLS- Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC top D.C. United with late Bieler strike


Photo by ISIphotos.com


For 88 minutes, Sporting Kansas City heaped pressure on D.C. United. And for 88 minutes, the visitors were able to weather the storm.

But in the 89th minute, Claudio Bieler seized his opportunity.

As substitute Soony Saad darted into the box from the left flank, Bieler made his run, beating Daniel Woolard to Saad’s centering feed and finishing past Bill Hamid to give Kansas City the 1-0 win Friday.

United found out teams that defend chance after chance must deal with fatigue that grows physically and mentally. When Marcos Sanchez slipped up late, hitting a poor back pass that Saad intercepted, Kansas City made him pay.

Sporting improved to 3-1-2 with the triumph, while United dropped to 1-3-1. Against Kansas City all time, coach Ben Olsen now possesses an 0-5-0 mark.

Although Sporting enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession in the first half, they didn’t produce any opportunity better than Bieler’s early header wide off a Matt Besler throw-in.

It was actually United who nearly grabbed the opener just before halftime. Bringing down Perry Kitchen’s lofted ball into the box, Lionard Pajoy cut inside, evaded defenders and freed himself for a point-blank shot — that he yanked wide.

As the second half wore on, United began living dangerously. Hamid needed a commanding punch to clear Paulo Nagamura’s blistering cross. Benny Feilhaber fired just wide after a nice build-up. Graham Zusi’s long-distance bid flew over.

But just when it appeared United would escape with their second scoreless draw on the road this season, Bieler stepped up.

Here are the match highlights:


  • ChiTown

    When your starting forward is last year’s Union reject, this is what you get.

    No team is winning with Pajoy as their go-to scorer.


    • MJC-DC

      That’s not his role and not why Olsen keeps him on the field.

      He’s a hustle guy who gets the ball to other players, provides a focal point. A poor poor mans Emile Heskey. Do we need to go shopping this summer? Probably.

      DeLo, DeRo and Pontius are expected to be the go-to scorers on this team.


      • Aaron

        You’re correct, it is clear that his role is not to “[do] what forwards do. They find a chance and do well with it.” But if that this the case then Olsen shouldn’t also be quoted as saying “we’re still looking for more quality in front of the goal” in reference to Pajoy. Furthermore, the only focal point Pajoy is providing is that of who the AR needs to flag for being offside!


      • MJC-DC

        To be clear I’m not arguing in favor of Pajoy in the starting lineup. As a fan I have other preferences.

        I was just pointing out that Pajoy is not our “go-to scorer”. I think were on two different wavelengths here. As your qoute references quality in front of goal, which simply means finishing your chances/creating more in the final third. That applies to alot more people on this team right now then Pajoy (semantics I know – also more context w/ your quote would help).

        Do you honestly feel Pajoy is a “go-to scorer”? And, does making an argument against that mean that I don’t expect him score at all? No, my point is a simple one. There are other, bigger pieces on this team which are expected to carry the scoring load and be it due to injury/form/whatever they are not.

        This team is struggling, and while I personally would like to see Pajoy on the bench, all this pajting is a distraction.


      • wilyboy

        If he’s a starting striker, he has to score goals. Otherwise, the rest of the team is toiling to create chances that the man up top won’t finish.

        It’s all well and good to have other players who can score, but to say that goals should only come from midfield is an exercise in futility.

        You say that his lack of goal scoring isn’t the problem. We certainly have other offensive issues, but that just means we can’t afford to have striker who can’t steal us some points.


      • Isaac

        ” if he’s a starting striker, he needs to be scoring goals”

        False. If he’s a starting striker, he needs to have a positive impact on the attack. Another striker may be better in front of goal, but less conducive to overall team play. I’m not saying Pajoy is either one of those things, but we should realize the different ways a striker can impact the game.

        Look at Robbie Findley. He was never meant to be as prolific and dangerous as Charlie Davies, but his pace made defenses drop back and leave space between them and the midfield, which is where Donovan and Dempsey like to work.


      • wilyboy

        You realize that we played better without Findley in the lineup, right?


      • MJC-DC

        (1) The team is not creating chances. I agree Pajoy is wasteful/not clinical, but its not as if he’s missing tons of opportunity, cause we’re generating a pathetically small amount of scoring chances.

        (2) DeRo should not be played in the midfield. I’d love a striker to step up and overtake Pajoy’s spot, but I’m not sure I see that happening in the short term. If healthy I expect Pajoy and DeRo starting up top together.

        (3) This is the BIGGEST issue. I’ve never said lack of scoring isn’t a problem. I just made a argument that Pajoy is not a “go to scorer”, and that all this hate thrown his way allows us to ignore the larger issue, that as a team our offense is one of the worst in the league right now.

        Also, I don’t get this viewpoint that the magic answer to teams offensive woes is that we need a better striker. Sometimes thats the case, however DC needs to create more chances and play better in the final third as a team.

        Do we need better play from Pajoy or whoever takes his spot? Yes, but we also need a healthy DeRo, Pontius to step up and lead. Someone to combine better with Kitchen at the #8 spot and replacement for DeLo while he’s out. There’s a multitude of issues this offense faces if they want to get better.

        The mischaracterization of issues that DC faces is what prompted me to respond to the initial comment.


      • wilyboy

        You’re right, we have bigger issues. But for me, the first concrete step we can take is to bench Pajoy and find the right combination with the rest of the players. He’s not our biggest issue, but it couldn’t be any clearer that he is not part of the solution, whatever that may be.

        Personally, I think DC screwed up in the offseason to such an extent that it might be impossible.

        We’re not talking about the rest of the offense because De Ro, Pontius, and the #8 (looks like the only hope we have at the moment is Augusto) because we know they could work. We know that Pajoy does not and cannot work.


      • MJC-DC


        I personally think the biggest step may have already been taken. I really hope Augusto matures and takes a hold of the starting role next to Perry. The defensive effort surprised me, not that it was great, but he works in that role alot better than I expected.

        As far as Pajoy, longterm I hope to see Rafael and DeRo up front. Not so sure we’ll get that as early as your clamoring for.


    • Swanny

      It’s hard to evaluate them when their best attacking talents are injured, though.


    • AzTeXan

      Couldn’t have said it better. This year’s DC team is no PaJoy Luck Club.


  • Kosh

    It sucked that we lost, though to be fair on the night we probably deserved to lose for the most part. It still sucked though because it seemed like we were good enough for the draw and maybe even stealing the 3. Oh well…

    Pajoy…don’t even get me started. In the first 1/2 – in one of the few times he did anything meaningful with the ball all game – he beats his defender and misses his shot on goal from, what, about 8 yards out? I mean let the dude make a save or something.

    DC looks better and holds the ball better when Saragosa is close to Kitchen. Kitchen is good and is going to be great but cannot do his thing and link in the attack effectively on his own just yet. But then when you bring Saragosa in that means a one man attack and we do not have the tools for that.

    Gotta say though it was impressive to see DC get punished immediately on the hiccup in the back. The league has come a long way and still has some ways to go. That said, you can tell, with the good teams, when a mistake will be fully capitalized on – mercilessly.

    Sanchez – go to your room and think about what you did last night.


  • PD

    I am a neutral but I have to say I love seeing a team that plays with the style of SKC get rewarded. It’s such a great style of play, technical ability and speed of play. They remind a bit of the style Tottenham plays. Since I’m a Union fan I feel DC’s frustration over Pajoy. He’s almost what a holdup forward should be, but fails to deliver on both accounts. I agree that once some of the injured players return he’ll be more effective, but still it grinds the teeth to see him get paid to not do his job.


    • Alex C

      I saw the game and I did not see anything like a punch – the announcers kept referring to something, but the replay did not show anything like that. There was an elbow, but it did not look like that much contact.


    • Mouf

      He got his arm up a bit but there wasn’t much there, linesman saw it and basically the center and him shrugged it off. If it’s even a talking point in someone’s narrative of the game, they are completely off base.



    DC was flopping all night.

    Good game plan but damn, what a build up for the goal.

    Nutmegged…. lol.


    • wilyboy

      If DC is Graham Zusi, then yes, there was a lot of flopping.

      Honestly, what are you talking about?


  • TomG

    Every time I see dc this year, they are packing it in, putting 10 men behind the ball and not competing. I understand that they have some injuries but they also have some good players that are healthy. Playing for il nil from the opening whistle match in and match out is selling his team short in my opinion. Ben needs to light a fire under his side and let them play with the ball a little bit. If you give a goal or two away fine but this strategy is clearly not working.


    • Nate Dollars

      as long as benny’s the coach, i think you’ll see them play that way more often than not. he seems more comfortable winning 1-0 or drawing 0-0 than going into a shootout. also doesn’t help that ‘packing it in’ was our bread-and-butter toward the end of last season, and it got us all the way to the semi-finals.

      but yes, it does make for awful viewing.


  • Aguinaga

    Said it in Ives’ initial December post announcing Bieler signing, KC hit the jackpot bringing him in. Going to be a long year for opposing defenses marking CB.


  • Ramon

    McDonald and Hamid both were quoted in the Washington Post and stated McDonald got hit in the throat.


  • Jason

    Things not looking good for Stoke. 1 win for their last 15 and they’ve got Man U next…


  • Fred

    I like Benny Olsen as a coach but last night’s game vs. KC showed that Peter Vermees and SKC are way ahead of DCU. Each team played like its stadium. SKC is a well-oiled, efficient machine. The Anacostians are a collection of MLS rejects that could be mistaken on the street as the crew of a pirate ship. SKC has done a better job of getting foreign acquisitions such as Nielsen, Collin, and Bieler. I haven’t read the news reports yet today but I suppose there are thinly-veiled criticisms of Pajoy. At some point those criticisms will reflect back to management if they don’t start getting better results. KC isn’t unbeatable. They visit the hollowed grounds of RFK June 19. Benny should have that date circled on his calendar.


    • Ramon

      Dude what ru smoking? Are u calling Pontius, Hamid, DeRo and DeLeonrejects? They are a team that lost their best offensive player, had to bad injuries, and a suspension. That being said they could improve their talent, but rejects. Maybe you should start righting opinion articles for a sensationalizing journalist website like Sporting News.


  • bryan

    ugh, really hard to watch DC United right now. hopefully once we get players back from injury, but still, the team is hard to watch.


    • MB

      Maybe that’s Ben Olsen’s fault. But he’s an American who played in MLS so we all have to love and support him!!!! DCU will go no where with Olsen calling the shots.


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