Thursday, August 2, 2012

Miller gives SKC wild 1-1 tie with Stoke in friendly

Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 with English Premier League side Stoke City FC on Wednesday in an international friendly at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

Michael Tonge’s penalty kick put the visitors ahead in the 84th minute but Overland Park, Kan. native Kyle Miller scored the game-tying goal in second-half stoppage time to leave both teams level.

The late goal, Miller’s first as professional since signing his hometown club on May 30, keeps Sporting Kansas City unbeaten in three straight matches against English Premier League clubs over the past three seasons, following a 2-1 win against Manchester United in 2010 and a 0-0 draw against Newcastle United FC a yearago.

The first chance of the match came in the fourth minute from the home side when Teal Bunbury’s attempt from 20 yards out was deflected out for a corner. Five minutes later, Soony Saad took a similar shot from the other side of the box and was just inches from the left post.

Stoke City FC had their first notable chance of the match in the 15th minute when KenwyneJones took a shot from 35 yards out that was struck just above the goalpost.

Stoke again threatened Sporting KC in the 21st minute when Jones thundered down the right flank and shot into the right side netting. Just four minutes later, Jonathan Walters whipped in a great ball from the left to Peter Crouch, who headed the ball high from close range.

Sporting Kansas City responded in the 27th minute when Saad took a low shot from 20 yards out that was denied by the woodwork. The game’s first shot on goal then came from Kevin Ellis in the 33rd minute when he was on the receiving end of a corner kick, heading it into the arms of Stoke City FC goalkeerp Asmir Begovic.

The 41st minute saw a chance for the visiting side when Ryan Shotton curled in a cross but Eric Kronberg valiantly came off his line and punched the ball out of danger. The first half ended scoreless, with possession evenly split between the two sides.

Kronberg opened the second half with a huge save in the 52nd minute. Walters slipped past the backline and into the penalty area, but Kronberg did well to cut off the angle and saved the shot from the Irish international.

The visiting side continued to pressure Sporting Kansas City’s defense in the 63rd minute when Crouch took a low, direct shot from the top of the box that was again saved by Kronberg again.

One minute later, second-half substitute Cameron Jerome put another shot on frame but Kronberg threw his body in front of the shot to deflect it for his third and final save of the night.

Sporting Kansas City came back with a chance of their own in the 69th minute, when Saad took a set piece on the left flank that just skipped outside the far post.

Stoke City would open the scoring from the penalty spot when Konrad Warzycha was called for a foul in the box on Tonge along the endline.

The 29-year-old Manchester native calmly converted the penalty, sending Kronberg to his left and placing the ball into the opposite corner.

The stage was then set for the stoppage-time equalizer as Miller, making his first professional start and second professional appearance, struck in the second of three minutes of added time. Begovic’s clearance from just outside the penalty area came straight to Miller, 40 yards from goal, and his first-time header-looped over the stranded goalkeeper and into the empty net.

The 92nd minute goal, the latest goal scored at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park this season and one minute shy of Sporting Kansas City’s latest in all competition this season, keeps Sporting Kansas City unbeaten (1-0-3) in international friendlies under Manager Peter Vermes, with results against Manchester United (England), Newcastle United (England) and CD Guadalajara (Mexico) prior to Wednesday.