An Important Stretch For Sporting KC

With a half dozen games left in MLS regular season, the next few weeks are huge for Sporting KC
by Katherine Rupp   |   Friday, September 12, 2014

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

As the saying goes, ‘in like a lamb out and out like a lion,’ in terms of weather, that statement could be true for the MLS regular season. Sporting Kansas City started off the season like a lamb – very docile and consistent and steady – and seemingly (and of course it would be this way considering the beginning of the season), the last month and a half of the regular season in MLS looks to go out like a lion.

As such, Sporting Kansas City has lost its last four games, and is winless – technically – in the last five games it has played (while taking into account the Concacaf Champions League game in mid-August against Real Esteli where the final result was 1-1); and additionally, Kansas City only has six games remaining in the regular season with three CCL games to play as well.

Even with losing the last four games, Sporting Kansas City players and fans should not lose heart. As the next game is against a struggling Chivas USA, the style of play, along with the effort and the fundamentals that were all seen in the Sporting players in the 2-1 road loss against the New York Red Bulls will certainly be back in Southern California, and this time – most likely – with vengeance. Since Sporting KC players, staff, and coaches, and yes, even fans, have such high standards of excellence, not only in how the team plays, but in the results of each game, as well as the public authenticity each player brings, people should not be worried about the end of the season, no matter how exhilarating, breathtaking, or anxiety-ridden some may be. Most fans know that coach Peter Vermes gets fired up, and with the past few games resulting in losses,

Because of the past handful of games have been iffy, Sporting Kansas City isn’t off the hook with those who hold them in high regard, however. Regardless of the next game in Los Angeles against Chivas USA – who have been, at best, not that good this season – there is hope that Kansas City will get back to winning ways. And with the Eastern conference shaping up how it has been here at the end of the season, Kansas City will need to get some W’s in the results column to be in good position for playoffs. As it is, Sporting Kansas City does not look to be in the position it had been in last year to be a top seed. If all goes to plan, Sporting KC will land in second – if it doesn’t go to plan, then most likely be in third place in the five spots that go into post-season MLS games.

With quite a few players on Sporting Kansas City still injured or out for the season, there have been a handful of other players who have stepped up in the past couple of months. The veterans on the squad will need to focus the Sporting KC team’s mentality from defeat to high esteem with the team. And as we’ll see in the coming month and a half – through the three CCL games and six regular season MLS games to come – that Sporting Kansas City has the grit and determination to finish out the season like the lion that they’re often known to be, or if the regular season was just too wearing and tiring for the team this year. Regardless of how Sporting KC fare in the next few weeks, the Eastern conference will certainly be something to keep an eye on as the teams shuffle for position heading into MLS playoffs.

NEXT UP: September 12, 2014 – Sporting Kansas City v. Chivas USA, StubHub Center, Carson, Cali. 10:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live

Katherine RUPP

Nationality:
USA
College:
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.
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