Sporting KC Has Some Growing Pains

Injuries and absences played part in KC’s regular season; team ready for post-season and a trophy
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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

The last regular season MLS game is upon us and as the New York Red Bulls come to Sporting Park, it’s a time to reflect on the season as well as forge forward for the post-season.

The last handful of months, really since Matt Besler and Graham Zusi arrived back in Kansas City after the World Cup, the team – although now with two of their leaders in the fold again – has been a bit disjointed. One week Sporting Kansas City wins two games and then the next they lose two games. This up and down battle with succeeding in winning games has correlated with the injury bug also hitting the team.

With some of the team with season-ending injuries, others not playing up to their full potential, and others hitting their stride at the right moment, Sporting Kansas City is what some might call a beautiful woven tapestry that is fraying at the ends a little but still as taught and strong together.

However, there are two sides to having New York play at Sporting Park – one is that they recently lost their last home game to the Columbus Crew and are more than likely fired up and wanting to prove something; and the second is that, though they are currently in 5th place and have clinched a spot for the post season, this game could boost the Red Bulls chances for better positioning in said post season.

The growing pains of Sporting Kansas City’s current season is akin to a teenager growing up. A growth spurt may hit one week and it hurts the body and yet the next week, the body is stronger because of that previous week. The same is similar to Sporting KC as one week the team will lose or draw, or maybe win but not perform to the same standards as the are accustomed, and yet the next week comes around and there are ‘W’s’ in the column with three additional points.

Although many teams experience these types of growing pains from season to season, this is not customary for Sporting Kansas City the past few. That said, because there are some trials that the team has gone through this year, not only does it make the team more resilient in the long run but also it makes the coach, Peter Vermes, more shrewd and knowledgeable about specific players and who should be on the squad, starting for certain games, and on the bench, not only for this year but for the next season as well.

With how well the past couple of years have gone – seemingly – after the rebrand, this is the first season that has been a little discombobulated with games, players, and especially injuries. And because of those solid years where Sporting KC has come away with a trophy of some sort of another, or with some kind of recognition, there hasn’t been much time to panic – although that time is no where near Sporting for a good reason.

Sporting Kansas City is a solid team built with the foundation and the structural reasoning from the current players and staff that showcase the best abilities of the team; and because of that, there is no reason to worry or panic because a few games have been lost here or there. Rather, as said previously, because of the introspection that can be taken at this time of year, it is needed – and possibly necessary – to see what steps Sporting Kansas City can take from here to further the team’s goal to continue on through the MLS post season playoffs and make it to MLS Cup.

Although MLS Cup, this year, may be a bit of a goal that’s reasonable but not attainable, only means that Sporting Kansas City has little tweaks to make in the offseason, whenever that may be. However, the season is not finished, and if Sporting Kansas City has anything to say about it, they won’t be done until late November or early December and they can lift silverware. So although this regular season has been a bit of a struggle, Sporting Kansas City is looking ahead toward the joyful challenge of a consecutive MLS Cup.

NEXT UP: October 26 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Red Bull New York, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas. 8:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2.

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.