Sporting KC’s Mechack Jerome earns first MLS start
03/16/2013 6:45 PM
05/16/2014 9:31 PM
Sporting Kansas City right back Chance Myers didn’t start because of a nagging quad injury, which created an opening in the starting lineup for defender Mechack Jerome.
Jerome, who was signed from USL Pro affiliate Orlando City SC two days before the season opener, more than held his own defensively and also proved dangerous in the attack, making the long overlapping runs that have become a hallmark of Sporting KC’s up-tempo style.
“He had a really solid performance,” manager Peter Vermes said. “Defensively, he was a rock. If he had 10 balls today, and he had a lot more, but he probably made 8.5 good decisions.”
Jerome’s performance didn’t come as a shock to goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen.
“It was no surprise after watching him every day in the preseason,” Nielsen said. “He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of power. He loves to get forward too, and I thought he had an outstanding game.”
For his part, Jerome, who subbed on for a minute in the March 3 opener at the Philadelphia Union, was nervous making his first MLS start.
“It felt good and I felt comfortable,” Jerome said. “I wasn’t nervous, but I wanted to win that game so bad. We created enough chances to win, but this soccer. We’ll train hard again this week and try to get the win next week.”
• Vermes thought forward C.J. Sapong was a good matchup outside against Chicago Fire left back Gonzalo Segares, so the third-year striker started at right wing. That shifted midfielder Graham Zusi to the left wing and left Bobby Convey as the odd man out in the starting group.
With midfielder Peterson Joseph dealing with a knee injury, rookie first-round Mikey Lopez was on the 18-man gameday roster, but he did not come on as a substitute.
• Midfielder Benny Feilhaber had played at Sporting Park before, but he’d never been on the home team until Saturday — a moment he relished despite the scoreless draw.
“Coming here as an opposing player, you look forward to it because of the environment and the fans,” Feilhaber said. “It’s something special. Being able to play with the home team, it was a whole different level.”
Meanwhile, forward Claudio Bieler, who is the fourth Designated Player in club history, recorded a season-high four shots but didn’t convert a goal for the first time in three MLS matches.