It's becoming an old storyline for Kansas City: Control the ball, out-shoot the opponent and lose a tight game. The Chicago Fire are the latest team to pull that trick on Sporting, winning 1-0 on Friday night.
The Kansas City Star
Here are the relevant stats, notes and quotes from the match.
• Sporting Kansas City started the season 7-0-0. Since then, Kansas City is 2-5-2.
• Overall, KC is 9-5-2 on the season (6-2-0 at home) with 29 points. That's good for third-place in the Eastern Conference (with two less matches played than league-leading D.C. United on 33 points).
• Roger Espinoza summed it up quite well: "We should be playing better. But these losses happenthats just soccer. Its very frustrating. We felt like we had the best of the game, and when you lose theres just nothing you can do about it. We definitely had our opportunities. I dont think we played great, but we played better than they did."
• As has been the norm, Espinoza was the player of the match for KC.
• Can Kansas City petition to move back to the Western Conference? Sporting is 6-1-2 against Western opponents this year. Unfortunately, the only teams left on the schedule are Eastern Conference opponents.
• The attendance on Friday was announced as 19,274. The sixth-straight sellout at Livestrong Sporting Park this year.
• It was 101 degrees at kickoff.
• It's the fourth-straight time KC has fallen to Chicago. After the match, the media wondered if Sporting was just "unlucky" against the Fire.
Peter Vermes: "I dont buy into that kind of stuff. Obviously weve been snake bitten every time we go to their place with PKs and red cards but maybe we just need to be a little smarter, who knows."
Teal Bunbury: "I really feel like we were unlucky. Sean Johnson had a world-class game and came up with some huge saves for Chicago. Its pretty disappointing because I feel like we outplayed them the majority of the game, but thats the way it goes. They got one opportunity and they capitalized on it. At the other end, Sean Johnson was an absolute beast and didnt let anything go by him."
• KC outshot Chicago 27-10. However, only 5 of KC's shots were on goal.
• The 27 shots tie a season-high for KC.
• Chicago's Johnson: "Hats off to KC. They didnt stop for a full 90 minutes. They are a fit team and they kept coming and we were able to get the job done."
• Kei Kamara led all players with eight shots (three on goal).
• Kamara is second in the league with 65 shots (trailing only Seattle's Fredy Montero) and first in shots on goal with 28.
• Sporting dominated possession, owning 61.4% of the ball.
• Vermes: "I thought the first half was pretty even, both teams had chances. We had a few more but I thought the first half was pretty even. I thought in regards to the second half we were all over them but we had one mistake through the run of play. Too many guys were forward, we werent balanced in the back and they had a 3v2 and they executed well. Outside of that I thought we fought very well all the way to the end. Im proud of the team the way that they went all the way forward all throughout the game. From that respect it was good, unfortunately we came up on the wrong end but it was a good performance we were just on the wrong side of the result."
• Friday was the first time KC lost this season when tied at halftime.
• Chance Myers and Jimmy Nielsen are the only KC players this year to play every minute of every MLS match this season.
• However, Graham Zusi is the only player to have appeared in every match in all competitions.
• Left winger Bobby Convey missed his fifth-straight MLS match with a left calf strain.
• Lawrence Olum made his fifth-straight start (in all competitions) for KC, but left after 19 minutes with a groin strain.
• Sporting Kansas City is 8-4-2 when wearing Sporting Blue.