SKC Fails to Capitalize

Sporting KC couldn’t gain any ground on the Supporters’ Shield race
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, August 19, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

On Sunday night, Sporting Kansas City took the field in some unfamiliar territory.

First, it was a 10 p.m. game at Buck Shaw Stadium – the 1st since October 1st of 2011. And on top of that, between these 2 teams, the away team has not won in this matchup since 2004, when Sporting KC was defeated by San Jose at Arrowhead Stadium.

This time the home team would again stay dominant, as Sporting Kansas City fell to the Earthquakes by a score of 1-0. 

This game had low-scoring written all over it from the opening whistle, as Sporting was left without the injured Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi. Jacob Peterson made the odd start on the right wing, and played opposite of Soony Saad with Claudio Bieler in the middle. 

Sporting's leader scorer Bieler has recently experienced a slump, having not scored a goal since June 29 against Columbus. Saad has appeared to be SKC's go-to player as of late, but did not make much of an impact Sunday. 

Sunday's match was marred with disappointing 1st touches, midfield giveaways and petty fouls given. The match's referee, Juan Guzman, made several confusing calls and was very quick to reach into his pocket. The 1st half was 45 minutes that could not have gone by slower. Neither team could get anything going and Sporting could not advance into the attacking third with any purpose. 

Consistent with almost all SKC matches, the stats sheet told the story of the game but not necessarily the final score. On paper the contest looked like rather even, Sporting won the possession battle, but with a statistically insignificant 50.8 percent. Each team had 9 shots and 3 on goal (only 1 of which would go in the net).

That shot happened in the 55th minute, when Steven Beitashour hit a one-time ball across from a deflection that flashed in front of Chris Wondolowski, who headed it past SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.

San Jose's 55th minute goal did not come without some controversy, where it appeared that Alan Gordon and the goal scorer, Wondolowski, may have been offside. The angle is not perfect, but it seems that Seth Sinovic was keeping the 2 onside. Either way, it's a very close call, yet the officiating in this game had been suspect throughout. 

Later on in the 2nd half, play opened up a little more for Sporting KC, but still nothing materialized in the middle of the pitch. Shortly after the goal, Teal Bunbury replaced Bieler up top.

In the 77th minute, Peterson Joseph would enter the match for Benny Feilhaber. While Feilhaber did not play very well at all, this was a peculiar move to make when down by a goal because Joseph is a much more defensive-minded midfielder, especially when playing on the road. 

Three points on Sunday would have put Sporting atop MLS in Supporters’ Shield standings, but SKC can rebound next weekend when it returns to Sporting Park and face the Colorado Rapids. In the middle of this week, however, Sporting will travel to Honduras to Olimpia in CONCACAF Champions League play. 

NEXT UP: August 27 – CCL: Sporting Kansas City vs. CD Olimpia, Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 10  p.m. EST, TBD.


Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.