SKC Faces Deficit Halfway Through East Semifinal

Sporting loses 2-1 to New England, putting them behind going into the second leg
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, November 04, 2013

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

For the first time under their new name, Kansas City faces a deficit in the playoffs against a team not named Houston Dynamo.

Saturday night’s matchup with New England Revolution in Gillette Stadium took until the 55th minute for the breakthrough, when three New England players crashed into SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s area with Andy Dorman tapping the ball in after the ball was knocked down by Juan Agudelo. All three players looked offside on the play, but the call is extremely difficult even upon a second viewing. 

The last time Sporting KC had given up a goal to New England was in July 2011 at Sporting Park, in a game that ended 1-1.  The last time Sporting had lost to New England was in April 2011.  Since that time Sporting and New England have played four games and Sporting has earned best of New England on an aggregate score of 7-0.

After the first goal, Sporting Kansas City’s approach to the rest of the game did not change, and they were punished for it.  Kelyn Rowe all but sealed a victory for New England in the 67th minute and it did not look like Sporting, usually an excellent road team, would be able to fight back.  Just two minutes later, Aurelien Collin knocked in a ball that came sliding toward the back post.  Had Sporting focused on damage limitation and tried to keep the ball away from their goal instead of keeping it with the intent to score, that second Revolution goal would not have been scored.

A very out-of-the-ordinary lineup was employed by SKC manager Peter Vermes, which featured Teal Bunbury and CJ Sapong as well as Lawrence Olum instead of Peterson Joseph.  Benny Feilhaber spent the match against his former team on the bench, but had a wonderful performance in Sporting’s 2-0 win against the Revolution earlier this season.

Now facing a 2-1 deficit heading into the Wednesday match at Sporting Park, New England will be expected to bunker heavily and preserve their lead.  While Sporting’s home record is not good, that’s not to say they don’t control every game they play.  And Sporting has had massive success against New England in home matches, having won last year’s home opener 3-0 over New England and recording a 2-0 win earlier this season.  There could not be a better team to face at Sporting Park on Wednesday. 

It comes down to Sporting KC having the killer instinct to score goals after getting into the attacking third and not lapsing on defense when playing a team that does not rely on counter-attacking soccer. 

NEXT UP: November 6 – MLS playoffs: Sporting KC vs. New England Revolution, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. 9 p.m. EST, NBCSN.

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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