A moment of madness from midfielder Kaku in which he kicked a ball in anger into the crowd, striking and injuring a fan, overshadowed a thriller 2-2 draw between the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City.
This was the first point earned by the Red Bulls after three consecutive losses. Sporting will be pleased to to snatch the draw on a late goal from 16 year-old Gianluca Busio – his third straight match with a goal.
Unfortunately, Kaku’s red card offense and looming suspension will be the talking points from the game.
Kaku, AKA Alejandro Romero Gamarra, turned to the modern day Town Hall, Twitter, after the game with the following pair of tweets in an attempt to own his actions.
I want to take the time and apologize for my actions during tonight’s match. As a competitor, I was frustrated with myself and took out my frustrations in a way that is not acceptable. I love this game and would never want to disrespect it. pic.twitter.com/0f1ufcXyJ4— kaku (@kakuromero17) April 15, 2019
What happened before Kaku’s red card…
Playing in front of an “announced” sellout, SKC made a determined start, determined to wipe out the stench of last Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Monterrey, a defeat that eliminated Peter Vermes’ side from the CONCACAF Champions League by an embarrassing 10-2 aggregate score.
KC attacked from the opening whistle, with Gerso drawing a save from Luis Robles just seconds into the match, having skipped past New York’s right fullback Michael Murillo.
But Sporting would spend most of the opening half exploiting a mismatch on the opposite side of the pitch with Johnny Russell having his way with Connor Lade, who was filling in for Kemar Lawrence, who missed out with the flu.
That strategy paid off in the 23rd minute when Russell all too easily raced past Lade on a throw-in that was put into his path by Krisztián Németh. Russell’s well struck shot put the home team in the lead.
The opening exchanges were dominated by Sporting against a shaky New York defense that also had its hands full with the intelligent play of center forward Nemeth, who was finding gaps between the Red Bulls center-back pairing of Aaron Long and Tim Parker.
The visitors began to come to grips with the match about 15 minutes in and even had the ball in Tim Melia’s net in the 16th minute before the goal was canceled out for an offside call on Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Despite New York’s improved play, SKC forced most of the first-half action with Luis Robles much busier in the NY net than Melia was at the opposite end of the field.
The Bulls picked up their play on the re-start, although Russell should have stretched the Kansas City lead just past the hour mark when he fired wide from a very dangerous area. Red Bulls coach Chris Armas then made an unusual move when he removed the team’s all-time leader in goals Wright-Phillips in the 71st minute for Brian White.
BWP went to the bench not having scored a goal in four consecutive matches. He has a total of just one in six games for the season. White made Armas look good when he headed home his first goal of 2019 in the 75th minute off a brilliant long range pass from Kaku, a reminder of what the Paraguay international can do when he uses his left foot for its intended purpose.
A desperately needed victory looked to be in the cards for New York but then up stepped Sporting’s 16 year-old sensation Gianluca Busio to deflect a Graham Zusi shot past Robles for an 88th minute equalizer.
With the goal, Busio became the youngest player in MLS history to score in three consecutive games, bettering the mark he set last week when he scored his side’s only goal in a 1-1 draw at Cincinnati.
Sporting nearly claimed all three points in added time when Daniel Salloi had Robles beaten all ends up only to see his shot carom violently off the underside of the crossbar and away.
Then, all hell broke loose.
With New York trying to start one last attack and the ball in the Red Bulls defensive end of the pitch, Kaku could be seen frantically waving for a pass out around midfield. The ball didn’t reach him, going out over the sideline for a throw-in, before rolling slowly to Kaku, prompting him to put his laces through the ball with a hard shot intended for the side boards.
Unfortunately the shot carried a little high, striking a fan in the face, or so it appeared. The Kansas City players jumped in to confront Kaku, the Red Bulls came in to back their teammate and a bit of a fracas ensued with Kaku earning a straight red card and Robles and Nemeth going into the book with yellow cards.
Kaku immediately attempted to apologize, although he reacted with incredulity to the sending off. The league is expected to come down hard on Kaku, with a multi-game suspension and a hefty fine likely.
In a welcome gesture, the Red Bulls players and coaches went to the fan and apologized as did members of Sporting KC. It’s been reported the fan did leave bloodied and dazed, however.
As for Kaku, he began the season angry with Red Bulls brass that a transfer that he wanted to Liga MX side Club America did not come off, was suspended for unstated reasons for one match earlier in the season and now this.
We will see how long Kaku is suspended for, then we will see if his final action in a Red Bulls uniform came when he kicked a ball at fan Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
The goal was Salah’s 19th of the year and pulled him even with Sergio Aguero for the Premier League lead.
On Salah and Aguero’s heels are their respective teammates Sadio Mane (18) and Raheem Sterling (17).
Raheem Sterling in particular is making a late-charge at the Golden Boot, netting a brace on Sunday after notching a hat trick last month against Watford.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane also have 17 goals a piece.
Where Aguero, Salah, and Sterling stand out is how they’re creating opportunities other than just finding the back of the net. Aguero and Salah have both contributed 7 assists this campaign, and Sterling has 9.
Salah is also leading all Premier League players in total shots, taking 88 so far this campaign. However, Aguero is making the most of his time on the field, scoring a goal every 109 minutes played (compared to Salah’s one per 153 minutes).
Premier League Golden Boot Odds
Despite City having a game-in-hand, Aguero and Salah are the same odds at +163 to win the Golden Boot (meaning you bet $100 to win $163, go here for a refresher on how to bet soccer). Given their respective team’s title chase, expect both to play all of their remaining Premier League games.
All odds from BetStars NJ as of 04/14/19.
|Sergio Aguero +163||Mo Salah +163||Sadio Mane +500|
|Aubameyang +700||Raheem Sterling +1000||Harry Kane +2500|
Given Harry Kane’s latest injury, it’s safe to rule him out of contention now. There’s certainly some value in Sterling’s +1000. He scores in bunches and City need him in top form for their remaining five domestic games.
Salah looked very confident on Sunday though, and if he plays like that the remainder of the season, he could quickly run away with the scoring title again (some down year).