Sporting Kansas City fell to D.C. United in a steep 1-0 loss on a rainy afternoon at Audi Field on Sunday night.
The injury list continues to grow with Graham Zusi now joining the ranks due to an oblique injury. Although both veterans (Matt Besler and Zusi) were listed as questionable, neither one appeared in the eighteen – giving Ilie Sanchez the opportunity to wear the captain’s band for the first time. The match also marked Seth Sinovic‘s 200th career MLS start. As well, introduced an old friend back to the lineup, Benny Feilhaber.
English captain Wayne Rooney was the first to test Tim Melia in the 14th minute – when he fired a strike from 25 yards out. Fortunately, the 31-year-old keeper made a full-stretch save to punch the ball away from the danger. Melia would go on to make a total of three saves.
Given ten players were out due to injury and only four players, including the goalkeeper, available on the bench, Sporting KC did well to hold the host scoreless into the second half.
Paul Arriola would finally break the goalless drought in the 78th minute when Wayne Rooney passed a perfect ball to Arriola, who then tucked it in the net by mere inches.
The goal gave the visitors an energy boost as they went on to create two solid opportunities in the final twelve minutes. But it wouldn’t be enough. Krisztian Nemeth instantly received a chance to equalize when he jumped on a giveaway and carried the ball toward goal, but his near-post shot goes wide.
A final chance at redemption saw late-half substitute Kelyn Rowe curl in a ball into a crowded box to find Graham Smith, but his header goes wide ending the match in a 1-0 loss.
Sporting KC’s winless skid continues. Now the club will have a three-game stretch at home, so hopefully, they can pick up some points at CMP before heading on the road for four-straight matches. First up, the club will host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, May 18.
One of the biggest questions that Sporting KC fans have had for the past few seasons is, “When will Peter Vermes sign a proven goal-scorer?” Well, guys, I think we’re good.
We’re ten games in (oh man…look at those recap articles…insert sad-disappointed emoji here) and not only are we in first place in the west…say that again for the people in the back…FIRST PLACE IN THE WEST! but we are averaging just over two goals per game, and have a +9 goal differential. All of these things are quite awesome. So let’s discuss these guys, and see what might be in store for the rest of the season.
The Top Guys
Johnny “Russellmania” Russell
Johnny Russell came from Derby (Darby) County, and he hit the ground running. If you haven’t seen this guy score in person, then you are missing out. Though I live super far away from KC now, I was able to take a spur-of-the-moment trip up to Chicago to see SKC win against the Chicago Fire. His goal was not only his first for the boys in blue, but it was also gorgeous. Just watch him blast the ball between three Fire defenders, not that anyone would have been able to stop it…
Clinical finishing from SKC's new man, Johnny Russell! And a terrific assist from @DanielSalloi.
That was his first goal, but Russell’s crowning glory so far this season was the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps where he became the 8th player in SKC history to score a hat-trick. The coolest part though is that he is the fastest player to ever get three in one game, clocking in at 48 minutes.
He could have probably scored more, but the Verms subbed him out in the 52nd minute for Cristian Lobato…who scored another goal. A 6-0 win was pretty sweet, guys. When you score three goals in one game you are almost guaranteed to be MLS Player of the Week, so naturally, that happened. Please enjoy this goal-a-palooza.
So, Felipe Gutiérrez was the leading goal-scorer in the league, then he got injured and he was still the leading goal-scorer for another two weeks. That’s what happens when you score five goals in the first five games. Quick side-note: Sporting didn’t score in their first game, so it’s basically five goals in four games.
I would like you to ignore the obnoxious music in this video and watch his field awareness. He knows exactly where the defenders and his teammates are at all times. The goal off of the backheel from Daniel Salloi should have been the goal of the week, but Atlanta United fans stuff the ballot box any time one of their guys is nominated…cough cough.
His reaction time is also crazy. The two goals off of rebounds are sheer perfection. Felipe has been injured basically since March ended. He subbed in against Vancouver but wasn’t on the field for that long, and he’s out now after sports hernia surgery. Depending on how quick he’s back, and how prolific other scorers are, he could possibly still end the season near the top of the leading scorers.
Do you need a guy to take a penalty? (Which SKC are magically getting this season. Not bitter, but we didn’t get one until almost the All-Star break last year. Pepperidge Farm remembers.) Well, we have a guy that can take your penalties. Not only will he make said penalty shot, but he won’t even make a big deal out of it. I wish he could score more, because The Cauldron has a new cheer for Ilie this season, and it is my absolute favorite thing.
My name is…
I’m from Barcelona
I play defensive-mid for the Wiz (THE WIZ)
When I walk down the street
Everyone that I meet
Says, “Hey, Muchacho, what’s your name?”
My name is…
Young Daniel has worked his way back into the starting lineup since Felipe’s injury, and if Saturday’s game was any indication, he’ll fill in fine. Daniel has scored twice so far this season, and he didn’t play at all in one game since he was coming back from international duty in Hungary. I refuse to do a Hungary pun. Refuse!
This guy is still young, and even if he’s not scoring, he provides a spark on the offensive end. He has four assists on the season including a beautiful backheel on one of Felipe’s goals from above. Check out his goal from the game against Colorado Rapids. Not only is the finish great, but literally every single piece of this puzzle is bomb.
Sporting KC @ DC United: Home Opener 0 – 0 and freezing
Sporting KC vs FC Dallas: Home Opener 0 – 0 and freezing
Sporting KC @ Toronto FC: Home Opener 0 – 0 and freezing
I’m beginning to sense a trend here, and we need a Mommie Dearest moment…
Sporting KC has personally scored a whopping one goal in their four games, and they have been gifted one by the generous gaff of David Bingham. While both of those goals were at home, we had already opened for business.
The good side of the this story is that Tim Melia is straight up fire in home openers (and all games actually)! Three clean sheets in three openers with some monster saves thrown in for good measure. I would like to reference a tweet from this past game…
Tim Melia being an actual unicorn has neither been confirmed nor denied, so I’m just going to go with it…Now on to the game!
Toronto, you are cold. You are very cold, and you are very damp. It rained, and rained, and rained, and rained some more. I feel for our Toronto FC writer, @crissypayne, because she was there. She might still be thawing. I felt bad for the poor mascot children who had no coats! Michael Bradley‘s children had coats. Toronto, get those kids some coats!
The game can be summed up in one word really. Almost. Toronto almost scored. Sporting almost scored. That’s about all there was. A whole lot of almosts. Hopefully, now that we’re past everyone’s opening jitters we can start turning those almosts into actualities.
There have been some good things going on among these almosts though. The new guys on the team have all been positive additions to the line up. Gerso Fernandes is starting to get some great touches up front. He had three attempts, an assist on an attempt, and won a free kick in the attacking half against Toronto. Some of his passes were questionable, but there was a good amount of sloppy play on both sides. I’m going to chalk some of it up to the weather, and see what happens as the season continues.
Soony Saad is not technically new, but he had a solid game and was creating chances. Hopefully, he gets some more time to keep working on his rhythm with Dom Dwyer, and they can regain that magic they had a few seasons ago. Latif Blessing was a late sub for Soony, and he was like an instant jolt of electricity! He is fast, and knows how to move the ball both in space and through defenders. The only worry I have with Latif is that he is not very big, and he will need to be strong against some of the bigger defenders in the MLS.
The last new guy is Ilie Sanchez. Last week I was iffy on Ilie, but this week I am all for him. His on ball decisions were good, his passes were concise, and he had an amazing delivery from the corner in the waning minutes of the game! If Dom had been a foot closer it would have been a goal.
The real stars of the season so far have been the back four and Tim. The back line of Seth Sinovic, O’Captain my Captain Matt Besler, Ike Opara, and Graham Zusi has been so solid. Matt and Seth have continued their strong foundation from last season, and with the additions of a healthy Ike and converted midfielder Zusi, the SKC back line is one of the best in the league.
All things aside, Sporting escaped with a point, and their unbeaten streak against Toronto now stands at eight games.
Week 4 Fun(ny) Facts
Toronto fans kept throwing toilet paper on the field which was annoying, but it led to the best moment of the game. Poor Soony…
SKC likes to play April Fool’s Day pranks. See last year when they got Tim Melia and Jordi Quintilla to “audition” for Dancing With The Stars. This year Dom, Soony, and Coach Peter Vermes catfished rookie Colton Storm, or should we say Mark from Cabo… You just have to watch.