Coming off of a strong win in Seattle, Sporting Kansas City fell back into old ways dropping points to rival Real Salt Lake in a 2-1 loss at Children’s Mercy Park.
The match kicked off to a rocky start with winger Gerso Fernandes forced to leave the pitch early in the sixth minute due to an ankle injury. Daniel Salloi came off the bench to take his place in helping the team maintain possession of the ball.
Johnny Russell put SKC on the board in the 31st minute with a free kick. But seven minutes later, Corey Baird was quick to respond for the visitors and leveled the match.
The home side had a chance to restore their lead after being awarded a penalty kick when RSL’s Donny Toia tripped Russell from behind inside the box. Felipe Gutierrez stepped up to convert but he watched as the ball rattled off the left post – sending them into the half tied up 1-1.
The visitors found their lead in the 70th minute when Jefferson Savarino picked out an unmarked Baird who tucked in a left footed shot into the bottom right corner for a brace.
The home team petitioned for a penalty in the 73rd minute after Gutierrez went down under Aaron Herrera’s lunging challenge and with the support of the crowd chanting for VAR – referee Fotis Bazakos reviewed the play but stood by the call of no penalty.
Things took a turn for the worst in the 84th minute when Sporting lost their second player of the match. Salloi was shown a straight red for a hard tackle on Damir Kreilach when he clipped the midfielder studs up, reducing the home side to 10 men for the duration of the match.
Sporting KC watched as their chances of playoff contention diminished further last night but is it too late? Maybe.
With ten games left in the regular season and still sitting in tenth place with 28 points and a -6 goal differential, every game from now on is crucial for SKC.
“I’m not giving up,” Peter Vermes told the press during the post match press conference.
Sporting KC will now look to bounce back in a mid-week fixture when the team visits Orlando City.
Despite coming off a hot win over the Seattle Sounders this past weekend, Sporting Kansas City fell to the LA Galaxy in a dismal 2-0 loss at Children’s Mercy Park.
The midweek fixture was a chance to regain a rhythm and some points. But as the script goes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal and assist and missed chances for the home side would help lead the Galaxy to victory – the first time they have won at CMP since 2007.
Navigating a stressful three-game week, Peter Vermes was able to fill a bench to capacity for the first time as the injury list continues to shrink. And Jimmy Medranda was removed from the list completely.
A rested center back Andreu Fontas, a former teammate of Zlatan, stepped in for the captain – who started on the bench. Johnny Russell was back after his heroic hat-trick and Fontas returned to the starting XI.
Their only real challenge was missing Krisztian Nemeth again since the league added an extra suspension for the Hungarian on Monday.
So what went wrong?
“I think we missed too many really good chances in the game,” Peter Vermes told the press.
Both sides kicked off the match with sloppy plays, incomplete passes, and misdirection of the ball. Fortunately, the home side soon regained solid possession around the 10th minute.
Tim Melia was called into action in the 24th minute, when the keeper made a diving save after Dave Romney connected powerfully with Sebastian Lletget’s header and smothered the ball amidst a crowded box to keep the game scoreless.
Gutierrez and Rowe nearly combined for the breakthrough just before the half, but David Bingham raced off his line and swiped the ball away for a corner kick that he later defended successfully.
Sporting were then prompted to make a halftime substitution as Besler replaced Botond Barath, who exited with tightness in his leg. No updates on his condition are known yet.
Ten minutes after the restart, Perry Kitchen sent a long pass to Zlatan at the far post, who directed the ball to Favio Alvarez – with the nice finish as he found a pocket of space and tucked away the goal.
Melia came up huge to deny Zlatan in a 1v1 situation in the 69th minute.
Zlatan, who just returned from a two-game suspension, got his revenge from the 1v1 standoff in the 86th minute and scored the game-winner for the visitors late into the second half.
The remainder of the match saw Sporting KC desperately trying to score a goal. Including a chance from the pair of Graham Zusi and Daniel Salloi. But Bingham kept punching them away to preserve the Galaxy’s 2-0 win.
Sporting KC will start a pivotal four-game road streak as they travel to Houston to face the Houston Dynamos on Saturday, June 1.
Featured image: Jimmy Medranda on Instagram @jimao7
Sporting Kansas City fell to Atlanta United 3-0; snapping their home unbeaten run on Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park. It was the first time the home team lost to the reigning MLS Cup Champions.
With multiple injuries plaguing the roster – and missing key starters like Matt Besler and Roger Espinoza – Vermes fielded an almost unrecognizable lineup with only five subs available on the bench. Two of which earned their first MLS starts – Graham Smith and Gedion Zelalem (made his club debut). Kelyn Rowe and Botond Barath returned to the starting XI.
Sporting KC kicked off the match with a good opportunity when Graham Zusi unleashed a long-range curler that carried marginally beyond the right-hand post. Shortly thereafter, Atlanta’s Pity Martinez cut centrally onto his left foot and dragged a low shot wide of the near post.
The home side would earn another chance after Krisztian Nemeth could have recorded his 11th off a corner kick by Johnny Russell in the 13th minute, but his glancing header on the edge of the six-yard box missed the mark.
And then it stopped?
With both sides holding close to equal possession and overall passing accuracy, it seemed they locked in a game of keep away, as they passed the ball back-and-forth without creating any solid chances for a full 15 minutes.
*Writer’s note: I’m not suggesting no one was trying to create an opportunity, I just found the situation odd.
Just as it appeared the match would go scoreless into halftime, Josef Martinez opened the scoring for Atlanta in the 39th minute after retrieving the rebound off of Tim Melia at short range. Martinez went down briefly after a collision with the keeper. But he returned to the pitch uninjured to score the game winner in the 76th minute.
Two minutes after the restart, Atlanta doubled the lead. Sporting failed to clear a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and a shot fell invitingly to Ezequiel Barco, who made right-footed strike down the middle into the left side of the post.
Melia did well to deny the 20-year-old nine minutes later, then produced another reflex stop on a strike from Miles Robinson.
Down by two, Sporting KC ran the ball down to try to close the gap and earned two solid opportunities in the process. But as the script goes, Kelyn Rowe’s thunderous effort from the top of the box was blocked and Nemeth’s 22-yard curler skimmed over the woodwork.
In the 65th minute, the energy changed as Ilie entered the match in a double substitution.
Ilie did not appear once in training this past week and he was listed as questionable. So it’s understandable the predicament Vermes was forced into. And one he will probably see himself again:
“The problem is I don’t have the whole team available. It’s not just one guy. When you have a team – and every team has their starters – to then have to supplant all those guys with new players, it’s very hard.”
Regardless, the Spaniard still had a solid attempt shortly after Russell cuts into the middle and forces Guzan into a leaping save with a left-footed curler that bounced off the top corner in the 73rd minute. But the striker couldn’t put his strike within the frame.
Ultimately, it was Martinez’s second goal that gave Sporting KC their first loss of the season at home in a 3-0 deficit.
Even though frustration filled the locker room, the team remains optimistic about the future. Especially with the newcomers earning more playing opportunities:
“I thought the two center backs did a really good job. It’s a quality team with a lot of attacking minded players that are really good at combining and for the most part, till maybe the 70th minute we did a really good job shutting [Atlanta] down.” Melia told the press.
Seth Sinovic added: “I think everyone had their moments. I think everybody got the opportunity to improve, not just the new guys but the experienced guys. And it’s on the experience guys that have not only played a lot of games in the league but a lot of games in a sporting uniform – we have to be better leaders. We got to do a better job and we’re not filling that job right now.”
Next up, Sporting KC will travel to Audi Field to face Wayne Rooney and D.C. United for the first time.
“We have to concentrate on our first day back at training. Making sure we’re doing everything there [..] we build them correctly for the game against [D.C. United],” said Melia. “We just got to get back to being us. And look at one game at a time.”
Sporting Kansas City earns a hard-fought point on the road in a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Nippert Stadium. The 16-year-old, Gianluca Busio scored the equalizer; becoming the youngest player in MLS history to score in back-to-back matches.
Manager Peter Vermes mixed things up when he drastically changed the lineup for the first time this season. With more than half of the regular starters missing, Sunday’s match introduced Adrian Zendejas, Nicolas Hasler, Rodney Wallace, and Gedion Zalem; all of whom made their club debuts.
Zendejas was quickly called into action just seconds after kickoff when Kenny Saief struck in a shot off of a low cross from Allan Cruz. But his attempt was blocked by the 23-year-old keeper. Yohan Croizet, who made his first start as a central forward, was quick to reply but was denied by Spencer Richey.
The 17th minute was nothing short of dramatic. Roland Lamah was fouled by Ilie Sanchez who brought him down following a miscue from Zendejas. After the play underwent review, the caution was mistakenly given to Ilie and instead shown to Andreu Fontas. A penalty was awarded to FC Cincinnati. Darren Mattocks stepped up and covered the first penalty in FCC’s history.
Fortunately, the Chula Vista native managed to disband Mattocks’ attempt to double the lead in the 27th minute.
Although it was clear from the start the heavy rotation was taking a toll on some players – the squad still created a few dangerous chances. For example, Kelyn Rowe and Busio proved to be a good tag team, as the duo produced two huge chances. The first came in the 33rd minute after Busio helped direct the ball to Rowe, but he hit it over the post. The second chance resulted in the equalizer.
SKC would get another huge opportunity to tie things up before the half in the 37th minute when Johnny Russell curled a shot into the back of the net, but his goal was called offsides.
Kelyn Rowe sent a long shot to Busio who ran the equalizer home into an open net in the 63rd minute. A miscommunication between Greg Garza and Richey would give the 16-year-old his second goal of the campaign.
The remainder of the second half saw SKC get chance after chance, but all opportunities would either go wide of the post or were saved by Spencer Richey. The second half also included regular starters, like Krisztian Nemeth, who entered the match for Croizet in the 70th minute.
Now sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference, Sporting KC will switch gears once again as they host C.F. Monterrey for the second leg of the Concacaf semifinals on Thursday, April 11.
Good evening, Sporting KC fans! It’s been a bit hard for me to write articles during school season, so I decided that I would let you in on what goes through my brain while watching a game on TV. This is roughly what I do on Twitter, but I might ramble because I have more than 140 characters so… oh, and I was at a concert for the first half, so this is only the final 45 minutes. We’ll see if that turns out to be a good thing.
If you don’t want to read my rambling thoughts then you can TLDR to the end for some takeaways.
How did we spend the entire season near the top of the table, and then at the end sink to fourth? That is unacceptable. We need to get back ahead of Seattle and Seattle South (Portland).
Peter Vermes is the best-dressed coach in the league. If you disagree you can @ me, and we can have a grown-up discussion about it.
Second half underway. Leonardo Machado may have pushed Zusi out of bounds, but whatever.
BENNY! Ugh, so close. Jimmy Medranda feeds the ball straight to Feilhaber who kicked it into the shin of the keeper, Mr. Beard Man. He looks like he needs a razor and a What Not to Wear makeover.
They keep showing the Houston coach. He looks a little bit like an angry uncle.
Benny yelling a bad word on camera. I’ll let you guess which one.
There is going to be a fight by the end of this game. I can feel it.
I have said this before, and I will say this again. If your name is really common (like Alex) you can’t just put that on the back of your jersey. There are too many Alexes for you to claim it for just you.
I wonder what Tyler Deric‘s middle name is? I love when people have first names as all of their names.
Ilie won Sporting KC’s Newcomer of the Year, and there is no one more deserving. This team would not be the same without him.
“This ball falls to Medranda” who then promptly actually fell.
I love when soccer commentators say “Went to ground” when someone falls like the players are plants or something.
How is Mr. Beard Man in the way of every shot? Move Beard Guy! I would like a goal please. Also, VAR, that ball may have been in.
Roger Espinoza almost killed a guy. It was kinda awesome.
Benny’s ankle turned in a way that ankles are not supposed to turn. He has had some bad luck with ankles this season.
Sidenote: husband just returned with Chinese food!
Jimmy Medranda with a great chance, but his cross is missed by both Rubio and Salloi. Besler‘s pass to Medranda was a beauty!
The ref just got nutmegged. That was kinda funny.
An SKC player ends up on the ground in the box, and there is no call. Half of the season in a sentence. The other half would be: Sporting made 3 million shots on goal, and none went in, but they were really good at passing.
Why is Tyler Deric Tim Melia-ing tonight? Geesh!
Diego Rubio just had a gorgeous strike, but it was deflected off Machado and flew over the bar. The bad words are happening in the Arpin household.
Ilie fashion update: After a season of black boots Ilie has moved to a pair of bright orange ones. He is also still in his trademarked long sleeved jersey. Find you someone that is as dedicated to you as Ilie is to not showing his arms.
So in the 82nd minute, Sporting was making an attacking run, and the ref got in the way and made us lose the ball. Not cool man.
22 shots so far. None in the goal. #2017
Bes motioning for the ref to hurry up and pull the yellow card is my new spirit animal.
Ike Opara just headed the crap out of a Dynamo corner kick, and it was the bravest move I may have seen all year. He had that terrifying concussion earlier this season. There is a good amount of concussion checking for both SKC and Houston.
Sporting needs to get their crap together because Seattle and Seattle Jr. are both killing it tonight. At least Vancouver drew.
Hey Houston, want to actually throw the ball in? Do you need a handwritten invitation?
Go go go go go go go go go…or kick it to the goalie. That’s cool too.
This ref has been so in the way!
Please score. Please! Just something! Anything! How is everything such an almost?
And there was almost another fight!
Ball right in front of the ball twice and no goal! How?!? Why?!? I am disgusted and annoyed at Sporting’s inability to score.
So here are my takeaways from this game, and the last game, and the majority of this season.
If we can’t start scoring goals we will not make it far into the playoffs. I don’t understand how SKC can score in the US Open Cup, but not in any other game. It’s not for lack for putting the ball on goal, but it’s about getting it past the keeper. There is no excuse for what is going on. Sporting can defend, pass the ball, dominate possession, anything but score. It boggles my mind.
The defense was on it tonight. Besler came back from the Men’s National Team with a score to settle, and he was holding it down. He was getting the ball to Zusi and Medranda all night, but unfortunately, nothing came of them. Zusi was controlling the game from the wing, Ike was a commanding presence in the middle, and Lobato was alright… Dykstra did a great job tonight too. There was rarely a time when I felt the goal was threatened.
With the draw tonight, Sporting KC has officially qualified for their 7th straight playoff appearance which is the third-longest streak in the MLS. SKC fans are looking forward to the next game against RSL to hopefully clinch home-field advantage for at least the first playoff game.
INTO THE PLAYOFFS THE DUMBEST WAY POSSIBLE LETS GOOOOOO
Hey MLS fans! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a month or so. If you’ve read some of my past articles then you know that I moved to Orlando this summer to continue my Master’s Degree in Wind Band Conducting. Well, since my last article, I have worked four weeks of band camps, and am getting ready to start school.
Sporting KC is also back! They were in a bit of an MLS slump with two draws against beatable teams, a loss, and a 3-2 win against Chicago Fire. The results of these four games led them to fall from first place in the Western Conference. But guess what? Sporting is back, baby! With Saturday’s win against conference foe, FC Dallas, Sporting has reclaimed some of their US Open Cup magic for the MLS season, and landed back at the top of the table!
Throughout the trials of the season, the one place Sporting hasn’t let up is in the US Open Cup. There are many teams that don’t put their all into the US Open Cup. They see it as an annoyance as opposed to an opportunity; which is something that Peter Vermes will never do. If Sporting is going to go for something then they are going to go all in. There was another team that went all in, and it was Cincinnati FC. Sorry New York Red Bulls, but no one wanted you to win that game. I do understand though that if Cincy had won that game, no one would want us to win the final… so hopefully we get the Cincinnati fans behind us on this one! I bet Mitch Hildebrandt and Tim Melia would be super good friends, so for that reason, cheer for Sporting! *wink wink
Sporting’s last game against FC Dallas came after a tough loss to Seattle Sounders. When Sporting went to Seattle, Vermes decided that it would be a good idea to rest a good chunk of the starters, and despite the result, I agree with his decision. The players that started all three games in the 8/6-8/12 span (Tim Melia and Matt Besler) ended up playing 300 minutes in one week. That’s pretty insane. Looking at the Starting XI that Sporting fielded against the Sounders and seeing the 1-0 scoreline makes me feel pretty good. Vermes can field a team that is not his best and can go into the game knowing that they can hang with the reigning MLS Champs at their house.
Now to the awesome game against FC Dallas! Sporting has been relatively weak against crosses this season, so it was finally time for them to get one of their own. In the 42nd minute, Graham Zusi‘s feed from the corner found its way to Diego Rubio and into the back of the net! I’m going to put this video in here…mostly because the background music makes it way more lit.
Two of the five @MLS Goal of the Week nominees came from @cmpark on Saturday!
Zusi assisted again on Gerso’s stoppage time goal that solidified a Sporting KC win! Last Saturday was a pretty special day for Sporting. It was their 100th straight sellout at Children’s Mercy Park, and they celebrated the whole week by getting different players’ favorite games at CMP. If you go back through Sporting’s media based tweets from the past week you can find all of them, but I’m going to go with Benny‘s game because it is the best.
Graham Zusi’s birthday was last Friday! He celebrated by winning! The MLS gave him a great present by putting him and his best friend forever, Matt Besler, on the Team of the Week!
Speaking of Zus, his stat line from Saturday was straight up fire: 2 assists, 7 key passes, 73 touches, 49/50(98%) passes, 7 crosses, 8 recoveries, 3 clearances, 2 tackles. He was named Man of the Match, btw.
Another awesome thing about the game against FC Dallas is that both of the goals were nominated for Goal of the Week!
This weekend Sporting starts a streak of three away games at Houston, NYCFC, and Columbus. It will be a tough test, but Sporting has been pretty alright away from home this season. They’ll get to come home again in mid-September for three straight home games and the US Open Cup final! To get you hyped up for that, here’s the video that US Soccer made of the game!
Here we are with another short week for Sporting KC. A game against Orlando City FC on Saturday, and then one against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night. So that leaves us with some quick fire articles.
On Saturday my husband and I were driving to the watch party for the game only to get stuck in a traffic jam where the main highway into downtown KC was closed for construction. Then we had to navigate the patrons for the Garth Brooks concert at the Sprint Center, and after that we got to walk through a country concert at KC Live in Power and Light. Quick note: We are not country people. We walked through this concert wearing Vans and Sambas so that we could get to No Other Pub. There were soooo many pairs of boots.
After the saga of getting to the watch party, we finally made it around the 11th minute. By that time, Latif Blessing had already scored his first goal! Ilie fed a ball up to Gerso who looked like he was going to shoot it, but he sent in a cross that tipped off a sliding Matt Besler and Latif tapped it in. The goal came off of a cleared setpiece hence Besler still being up front. Not going to lie, but I’m lucky that this game was the MLS Condensed Game of the Week or I would have just been confused… If the darn highlights started just a smidge earlier. Also, darn you Garth Brooks!
Orlando came back pretty quickly when Cyle Larin snuck onside and past our defense to score their first goal. There was a slight uproar in twitter land about Larin being unmarked, and that seems founded. The defenders did seem mighty occupied with the cross. Ten minutes later there was an Orlando City breakaway, and Kaka found the back of the net. It was a beautifully handled ball, so I’ll say I can’t be too mad. That’s a lie. I hate losing, but it was a pretty play.
Until Latif’s second goal, we’ll get to that in a second, all I could think was, “We have to get a goal. Our offense looks too solid and too organized to not get one.” But all we were getting were good runs into the attacking third and lots of possession time. It seemed that Sporting was utilizing their strong passing game almost to a fault. We’d pass the ball around and let Orlando City flood the box with defenders. There was finally a crack in the defense when Gerso got the ball to Benny Feilhaber who played an on target shot that was deflected by Joe Bendik straight to Latif who tapped another short goal. There was definitely an undercurrent of “Finally!” to the celebrations at No Other Pub!
Let’s talk about Bendik right quick. Here in KC we have one of the best keepers in the league. Maybe the best this season. His name is Tim Melia. He is a unicorn, a hero, and a class act. I have not seen Tim Melia lean over a player from the opposing team and scream in his face no matter the circumstance. Joe Bendik leaned over Latif Blessing twice and screamed in his face. I understand that Latif dove a few times, and one or two were blatant. Knowing Peter Vermes, I also doubt that Latif will be doing that anymore. Joe Bendik needs to back off. Did it hurt him, no. Maybe he should have stopped those goals.
This was my matchday in a nutshell. As I mentioned in my “About Me” article I am a Graduate Student at the University of Central Missouri (UCM). Part of my job is to run the UCM Pep Band for basketball games. This is normally not an issue and a super fun part of my life, but this time it got in the way. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams, the Mules and the Jennies, were playing in the MIAA Conference Basketball Tournament in KC this weekend, and I had two games on Saturday. The Mules played at Noon, and the Jennies played at…you guessed it…6:00pm, AKA gametime.
My husband was lucky enough to get to No Other Pub, our Sporting KC bar in the Power & Light District, to watch the game with members of The Cauldron who didn’t make the trip up to DC. *Side note: Great job to The Cauldron and SKC for having the most traveling fans of any MLS team by far this week! Anyway, my husband was at No Other Pub and kept sending me updates by text, when he remembered. Here is the extent of my gametime commentary:
“Medranda starting as attacking mid, Zus right back”
“Gerso is contributing a lot”
“Melia saved a pen”
and that was it…please note his lack of punctuation. All of these things happened before 17 minutes on the clock. The lack of communication may have been helped out by the $30 unlimited burgers, wings, and beer at the watch party.
So, here are my thoughts from watching the game and highlights, and listening to interviews after the fact.
Sporting KC’s starting XI has gone through some changes since last year with the retirement of Paulo Nagamura and Brad Davis and Jacob Peterson being signed away by Atlanta United. Last year we also had a crazy defensive rotation that was forced by injuries. Hopefully this season we see a stabilized line up with Captain Matt Besler, a healthy Seth Sinovic and Ike Opara, and utility man Graham Zusi.
One of SKC’s immediate needs was to get Dom Dwyer some help up front. The answer for this first game was the addition of Gerso Fernandes and Jimmy Medranda on the wings with Benny Feilhaber and Roger Espinoza at attacking mid. Gerso has previously played in Portugal, and he made an impact right off the bat. Not only is he fast, but there was a play late in the game where he made a crazy shot from right inside the box. It would have been perfect if he had been another 10-15 yards out.
The player of the game definitely goes to Tim Melia. This may have been the hardest I have seen anyone work for a clean sheet. Shots seemed to come in flurries, and there was no relaxing in goal. Timmy also had some assistance from his teammates with Jimmy and Dom providing huge goal-saving headers in the 66th minute. Tim’s heroics in no way diminish the show put on by DC’s Bill Hamid. Dom, Benny, Gerso, and Jimmy all had some legitimate chances, and Bill was on fire, so props to Bill!
Though it was freezing out, manager Peter Vermes chose to keep all 11 starters in for the full 90 minutes. I don’t think this was detrimental to the team’s performance though, because the guys were still playing strong at the end of the game. It seemed like DC United was bunkering down in the last ten minutes, and SKC was still making chances literally up until the final whistle.
Some things I’m curious to see coming up this season are how Jimmy and Zus are utilized, Latif Blessing…period, and the return of Soony Saad. Blessing may prove to be one of the fastest players in the MLS, and he was the leading goal scorer in Ghana’s premier league last year. Look for him to get worked into the line-up soon. Soony’s return is also a big point of interest, because him and Dom have had such great chemistry on the front line in the past.
This week is the home opener at Children’s Mercy Park, and there’s supposed to be freezing rain…welcome to Kansas City.
Oh, and by the way, the Jennies lost…
*The Tuesday before the game SKC hosted a preseason kickoff party, and that was the best time! We got to meet a few players, and play drums in the fan march through downtown KC! I was on Dom Dwyer’s insta story, so that was pretty awesome.