SKC Won’t Hold Back in Final Part of MLS Season

The final 2 months of MLS regular season and Concacaf Champions League games should impress
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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

There’s always a chance, when playing in MLS, that a team can either be at the bottom of the standings or riding the waves high a the top of the table. One day a fan favorite will crush their closest competitor, while other days the unforeseen will happen and a pure dismantling will be the conclusion to a vital game. The latter just happened with Sporting Kansas City getting slayed by their Eastern conference foes in DC United when the capital men came to Sporting Park to take three points away – along with three goals – in Kansas City. However with the most recent loss against DC United, coach Peter Vermes – in the post-game press conference – said, ‘No, I don’t individualize games over the course of a season. Every game is important.’ Which essentially lends a hand to the equality and balance that is found in Major League Soccer.

And parity is a funny thing…even though it is what defines Major League Soccer, which leads to – what could be deemed – as three more(?) important games for Kansas City coming up with a home match against the Houston Dynamo, and two away games against the New England Revolution (with newly acquired Jermaine Jones) and the New York Red Bulls.

With the MLS regular season coming to a close in the coming two months, every game – no matter how cliché it is – truly does matter, especially for a team such as Sporting Kansas City that sets expectations high and hopes to exceed them greatly. Additionally, the Concacaf Champions League group stage games are currently scheduled for this September and October.

However poor some of the most recent games and players’ form have been in the past few weeks, that doesn’t disregard the need to continually play aggressively at home, which, in the past handful of years since it’s opened, has made Sporting Park one of these toughest stadiums to play in throughout MLS.

And with that aggressive style of play, a focus on future games including those Concacaf group stage games, as well as MLS regular season matches and also playoff games, will be at the forefront of Sporting Kansas City player’s minds as they go forth into the fall.

After obtaining – through no small feat or path of their own – the MLS Cup for 2013, Sporting Kansas City have their sets always on high expectations. As Kansas City-native and Sporting KC captain stated after the DC United loss in the press conference, ‘…we want the next game to come fast because this just isn’t acceptable.’

With such high standards, is it too much to ask for Sporting Kansas City’s players and coaches to take a breather during one of the most important times of the year – regardless of if it may seem like the denouement of the season? According to those with Kansas City, absolutely not. Such high expectations, even though they could sometimes be construed as lofty, sets a high goal for the team and organization in which they can certainly surpass. If they will surpass the large goals – such as a CCL final win which leads to a berth into the Club World Cup, as well winning the MLS Cup yet again – remains to be seen, but great expectations can change a team into believing (especially after some tough games) that they can’t into they can. And there’s definitely a good chance, specifically after a tough home loss to DC United and with a few rivals games coming up, that Sporting Kansas City will take the bull by its horns and ride the full eight seconds that is the MLS season.

NEXT UP: August 29 – Sporting Kansas City v. Houston Dynamo, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. 8:00 p.m. EST, NBCSN

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.