Upward Trajectory of Goals for Sporting KC

Kansas City turning the confidence tide just in time for the last games of MLS season
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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

Times are a-changing and Sporting Kansas City look to have their head on straight now that the team has beaten a shaky Chivas USA recently and was its first win after four consecutive losses in MLS regular season play. 

Not only is the team back on track with the high tide rolling on in with retribution for those handful of below-average (for Sporting KC) matches, but one recent plaudit because of a player’s wonderful work this season was rewarded, not only through the win at the StubHub Center, but also through a team record.

This team record that was recently surpassed was one held by former player, current Sacramento FC head coach, and Kansas City great, Preki, and taken over by the Englishman who has his eyes set on big things this season (clearly), Dom Dwyer.

Dwyer certainly has had quite the season, and with how his name is now in the Sporting Kansas City record books, it doesn’t look to be stopping at any time soon – especially with how his work rate goes, as fans and those who follow Sporting know all too well. And luckily, Dwyer isn’t done, mainly because there is still a lot of work to do even with the number of games dwindling down.

Fortunately enough for Sporting Kansas City, not only is Dom Dwyer hitting his hot streak at the moment – how can surpassing a record that’s stood since MLS started in 1996 not constitute as a hot streak? – but a few other players are making their way back from injury or yellow card accumulation, or possibly bad form, to make a mark for the rest of the season.

Throughout the summer after the World Cup in Brazil, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, who were part of the US team that played this summer and traveled more than any other country’s team, played decently but still had a few hiccups once they arrived back in the States and put on their boots for Sporting Kansas City. Although some shaky moments have happened recently as well, both seem to have their heads on straight and ready to take on the remaining challengers for the MLS regular season, especially Florida-native, Zusi. Also Benny Feilhaber, who has been a consistent threat to oppositions’ backlines this year, is back from yellow yard accumulation, and already is back to his dominant ways by providing a goal in the 4-0 Chivas win.

In addition to Dwyer, Feilhaber, Zusi making their way back to what fans expect from the popular players, other players on rival teams are also peaking at just the right time. Soon, Sporting Kansas City will play New England, DC United, Chicago, Philadelphia, and finally rounding out the regular season by playing the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. Some fantastic players that will be hard to handle in the coming weeks go by the names of Lee Nguyen with the Revolution, Fabian Espindola with DC, and a probably-retiring-after-this-season Thierry Henry.

Regardless of the big names and big rivals that Sporting Kansas City will face for the rest of September and through October, the team has been here – where there is a bit of jostling around above the red line for playoff spots in the Eastern conference – before, and there shouldn’t be too much hesitation in knowing that Sporting will make the playoffs, safely and soundly. With the consistency of Feilhaber this year, Zusi’s stability, and Dwyer’s offensive firepower, along with all of the arsenal that come with Sporting Kansas City’s quiver, the small-market Midwestern team has goals to reach (literally and figuratively) this year and has the ability to attain the goals. And with a late season slump in the summer, don’t think that the rebound will be nothing but spectacular as the team has a rightful confidence and won’t look back.

NEXT UP: September 18, 2014 – Sporting Kansas City v. Saprissa, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. 8:00 p.m. EST, Fox Sports 1

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.