Early Season Struggles Could Benefit SKC

Although KC’s loss was a disappointment, the defending champions played a solid match
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, March 10, 2014

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

Sporting Kansas City opened the 2014 regular season and campaign to defend the MLS Cup from the previous year last Saturday on a bleak afternoon in front of 40,000 at CenturyLink field in Seattle. 

Although it was the first game of the season, Sporting were forced to release a rather tentative roster given an extremely difficult schedule to open the season; the team will have played 5 matches in 15 days with the MLS regular season in conjunction with the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage.  Several players, like Claudio Bieler and Oriol Rosell, were left out of the match in order to be rested for Sporting’s match on Wednesday against Cruz Azul. 

Nonetheless, SKC manager Peter Vermes’ lineup was competitive. Most of the match was controlled by Sporting and not much seemed changed from last season. One possibility of Bieler playing attacking midfielder will have yet to be experimented with due to the aforementioned schedule congestion.

The last sequence of the match was an awful collapse from Sporting KC. Zusi’s ill-advised pass was intercepted as Lawrence Olum was far too slow to reach it and Seattle rushed down the field to score with only 7 seconds left.  Not only was the ball given away to the counter attack, but Sporting’s 5 players standing in the area did not challenge the ball in the air to clear it away. 

With this loss, Sporting has now given up 5 goals in the last 10 minutes of a match for the last 4 years. Although yet another loss to the Sounders can be worrying, it is only the first game in a 34-game season. Sporting have a history of being red-hot during the early going and slipping into losing streaks during the middle of the year.  2012 began with a 7-game winning streak against some of the league’s best teams, but Sporting ended the season a bit less convincingly.  The mid-point of the 2013 season was even precarious, with SKC winless in an entire month and in slight danger of missing the playoffs.

The other end of the spectrum is unfamiliar for Sporting. Perhaps losing early in the season will make the team much better. The team seemed complacent during a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas and another 1-0 loss at home to Seattle last season.

To add to that, a hellish schedule to begin this season will condition Sporting to be better when the games get easier. Sporting’s next match will be at Sporting Park against Liga MX-leading Cruz Azul in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

NEXT UP: March 12 – CCL: Sporting Kansas City vs. Cruz Azul, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8:30 p.m. EST, Fox Sports 2.Sporting Kansas City opened the 2014 regular season and campaign to defend the MLS Cup from the previous year last Saturday on a bleak afternoon in front of 40,000 at CenturyLink field in Seattle. 

Although it was the first game of the season, Sporting were forced to release a rather tentative roster given an extremely difficult schedule to open the season; the team will have played 5 matches in 15 days with the MLS regular season in conjunction with the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage.  Several players, like Claudio Bieler and Oriol Rosell, were left out of the match in order to be rested for Sporting’s match on Wednesday against Cruz Azul. 

Nonetheless, SKC manager Peter Vermes’ lineup was competitive. Most of the match was controlled by Sporting and not much seemed changed from last season. One possibility of Bieler playing attacking midfielder will have yet to be experimented with due to the aforementioned schedule congestion.

The last sequence of the match was an awful collapse from Sporting KC. Zusi’s ill-advised pass was intercepted as Lawrence Olum was far too slow to reach it and Seattle rushed down the field to score with only 7 seconds left.  Not only was the ball given away to the counter attack, but Sporting’s 5 players standing in the area did not challenge the ball in the air to clear it away. 

With this loss, Sporting has now given up 5 goals in the last 10 minutes of a match for the last 4 years. Although yet another loss to the Sounders can be worrying, it is only the first game in a 34-game season. Sporting have a history of being red-hot during the early going and slipping into losing streaks during the middle of the year.  2012 began with a 7-game winning streak against some of the league’s best teams, but Sporting ended the season a bit less convincingly.  The mid-point of the 2013 season was even precarious, with SKC winless in an entire month and in slight danger of missing the playoffs.

The other end of the spectrum is unfamiliar for Sporting. Perhaps losing early in the season will make the team much better. The team seemed complacent during a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas and another 1-0 loss at home to Seattle last season.

To add to that, a hellish schedule to begin this season will condition Sporting to be better when the games get easier. Sporting’s next match will be at Sporting Park against Liga MX-leading Cruz Azul in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

NEXT UP: March 12 – CCL: Sporting Kansas City vs. Cruz Azul, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 8:30 p.m. EST, Fox Sports 2.

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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