Sporting Goes Broke

SKC goes scoreless in yet another road game in the 2013 season
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, August 26, 2013

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

MLS' only Friday night game last weekend featured yet another Sporting Kansas City-Chicago Fire matchup, the 3rd one of this season.

But Sporting would not improve from last week's road loss, as SKC lost by the same scoreline Friday night, 1-0 to Chicago.

It was a classic Sporting KC road match, more suitable for lulling one to sleep than entertaining them.

In the 13th minute, Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba tamed a pass on the left wing and crossed it to the back post where Mike Magee knocked it back to Hunter Jumper's head. The goal was Jumper's 1st goal in his career and the assist Magee's 3rd of the season.

Although Chicago was featured on most highlight clips with the most concise chances, Sporting won the possession battle soundly with 59.3% of the ball.

A classic problem with Sporting this season, Kansas City did not create a single good chance at scoring until late in the game. The early goal for the Fire enabled them to focus on defending, but the way the game ebbed it seemed the Chicago quickly found that it could go at SKC. Sporting had the same strategy in its 1-0 win in Chicago earlier this season, when it won 2-1 with 2 goals in the 1st 20 minutes. 

SKC manager Peter Vermes made an interesting leap of faith move in starting Teal Bunbury in place of Soony Saad. Saad would enter the match in the 57th minute for Benny Feilhaber, and the inconsistent midfielder had yet another disappointing game.

Bunbury, the inconsistent forward on the field, however, still did not score a goal and was replaced by Dom Dwyer in the 67th minute. Dwyer looked lively late in the match, and his best chance at scoring was a header from 10 yards away that hit the crossbar. 

Friday's match further highlighted the complete lack of a true defensive midfielder. Roger Espinoza's presence last season was a huge reason Sporting could experience so much success.

Again, there's a downside of the 4-3-3 formation brought forth from this game. Sporting KC has the forwards to operate in the 2-forward formation that would make it easier for the ball to be spread around the field without such a disconnection between the midfield and attacking third. Oriol Rosell has been the player to act as the defensive midfielder for this team, but he is not as apt to make the last-ditch tackles that Espinoza or Julio Cesar of Sporting's team last year.

Recently in a slump, Claudio Bieler seems the kind of forward that could thrive in a 2-forward formation with Kei Kamara on the wing in a less advanced position and Saad or CJ Sapong alongside Bieler up top. It is an absolute disgrace that Sporting is not able to get him the ball in position to score. The Argentine striker's slump is not just his fault.

As August ends, Sporting will have made only 2 moves in the summer transfer window, having signed defender Brendan Ruiz and midfielder Jimmy Medranda. Vermes has said that these signings were only players they were looking at bringing into the starting lineup after a few seasons. About 3 weeks ago, Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman let fans know that the rumored Jorge Claros-to-SKC deal was “dead.” Claros is an Espinoza-type defensive midfielder that played last season for Hibernian in Scotland.

Sporting KC will make a trip all the way to Honduras Tuesday to take on Honduran champions Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League. It will be their 2nd game in the group, having won the 1st game against Real Esteli 2-0 in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Next weekend, Sporting will come back home to Sporting Park and play the Colorado Rapids, who have revamped their squad over the summer transfer window with new players Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez. 

NEXT UP: August 27 – CCL: Sporting Kansas City vs. CD Olimpia, Stadio Tiburcia Carias Andino, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 10 p.m. EST, Fox Soccer Plus.

Skylar ROLSTAD

Nationality:
USA
College:
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.
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