How Will SKC Bounce Back?

Team looks to rebound as playoff contention becomes serious issue
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, June 17, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.
August 8, 2012 was of course the most memorable night for any Sporting KC fan. A familiar Queen song rang through the speakers at Sporting Park, confetti littered the stands and 8 years of dreaming had burst into reality.

Sporting Kansas City had won the US Open Cup.

Although a minor trophy in terms of the overall history of MLS, it was silverware nonetheless.

The season before that, this team faced a 10-game road trip during the construction of Sporting Park. After beating Chivas USA in the season opener, Sporting would not win again for 10 weeks. But when all was said and done, Kansas City sat atop the Eastern Conference.

Looking back on that year, Sporting probably was not quite as great as I thought it was, but what made it one of the best teams in the league by the end of the season was the determination and perseverance required to take it from “worst to first.” It was the next season, 2012, in which Sporting KC really made a mark.

But this is 2013, and Sporting needs more than a statement.

This year, Sporting Kansas City is a team that should very well be on its way to winning another trophy. Yet again, and as I remarked last week, every team has its struggles. But also the possibility of not making the playoffs this year is something that should be no more than laughable, the keyword being “should.”

As it stands now, the possibility of not making the playoffs is very real. Through the past 2 years, as well as 2009 when KC fought hard to get into the playoffs but just missed, Sporting has had to fight through some form of strife in order to call the season a success. Is Sporting going through that right now? Moreover, what constitutes a successful season this time around?

Sporting's frustrations tactically came to a head in its devastating loss in the US Open Cup 4th round match against Orlando City. And what arose from that was more frustration, this time much different from tactics. Sporting lacked the ability to get inside and score once again, and Teal Bunbury was unable to make a difference in his first competitive game since tearing his ACL a year ago.

SKC manager Peter Vermes should have deployed Soony Saad in this game. Not only is he healthy and a player that has produced at least a little this year, but last season's USOC game against Orlando was a game where Saad scored 2 goals in SKC's 3-2 win.

Aside from things simply not working on the field, the players seemed to not be in the game, a very unfamiliar feeling for Sporting fans, as this team has shown nothing but passion and the desire to win a game ever since Sporting Park opened and the expectation was to win and be winning.

A good season versus a disappointment this year will not revolve upon whether Sporting wins the Eastern Conference this year, but it will depend on how SKC can bounce back from its current run of unusually horrible form.

In Sporting's next game comes a chance to either prove doubters wrong and take a confident step up the standings in the Eastern Conference or to prove many right and continue its disappointing run.

NEXT UP: June 22 – Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas, FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco, TX, 8:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.



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.