A sell-out crowd of screaming and seemingly delirious fans. The weight of expectation weighing down on the players' shoulders. The day seemingly already ready-made for celebration and revelry. The pay-off from a week's worth of hard work, determination, practice, planning and screaming.
All paid off in nine seconds ofglorious choreographed river-dancing
The game against the New England Revolution wasn't half bad either.XI Thoughts is a weekly feature here at The Full 90. It usually lands a few days after a Sporting Kansas City game -- that's to give us time to review the game and stats and let the emotion drip out of the game. Sometimes, it's 11 Questions. Others, like today, it's 11 Thoughts. If you see a blue link, you'll want to click it. It usually is to something funny that will open in a new tab. Feel free to comment on the thoughts or give some of your own in the comments section. 1. What's the most important thing we learned about Sporting KC?
Sporting KC turned in an absolutely dominant performance on Saturday. Of course, this domination was the result of a slightly out-gunned and under-manned team falling down a man within 15 minutes. So, what's the take away from a game like this?
We know now what Sporting KC are capable of. That doesn't mean that they'll always play that way. Or that they'll bury all opponents under a mountain of rubble and goals and sliding Roger Espinoza tackles. It means that, under optimal conditions, we know what this team can do.
Say you've got a brand new car (let's call it anAudi R8
because, well, why not?). You're going to want to find out early on how fast you can go in that thing, right? So you find a nice, open, long stretch of road and put the pedal through the floor. It's fast and a little frightening. But, now you know what it can do.
Of course, you can't do this all the time. There are traffic rules, other drivers, road hazards, etc. But you still like knowing that, if you really needed it, that puppy could hit 180 without so much as hesitating.
That's what I think this game was for KC. A somewhat clear, open road to lay out the throttle and see what this team can do. (Wasn't bad for overall team fitness either.)
The result was of course: This team can be relentless. It wasn't a perfect performance, but the team smelled weakness and pounced on it.
3 goals (could've been 5 easily), 27 shots (7 on target), 647 successful passes*, 85% passing accuracy and 65.6% possession.*The next highest passing team this week? Chivas. Yeah, Chivas, who lost 1-0 to Vancouver with 565 successful passes. I stand by my ramble last week: Passing stats can be instructive and reductive at the same time.
Man, 27 shots?That's a lot of shots. 2. About that red card.
After the game, Peter Vermes said the red card on Stephen McCarthy (for Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity) was "deserved based on the fact that C.J. was going on a break away. You obviously can't do that."
You can argue the merits if you like, but McCarthy was having trouble getting a handle Sapong already and, eventually, it would've caught up with him.
To me, the ref had established very early on that he was calling the chippy stuff. Maybe 14 minutes isn't enough to get the full idea of the ref's tolerance for tackles‚ but it wasn't hard to see he was trying to impose order to the match early on.3. While the red benefited KC, it sort of robbed KC too.
There's no doubt that losing McCarthy (and forcing Shalrie Joseph into emergency center back duty) immensely helped KC's chances of winning. But it also robbed fans of what was shaping up to be a very interesting and exciting challenge.
From the outset, the Revs were playing a very, very high line of pressure. It seems like Jay Heaps was pushing his team to out-press Sporting. The game was fast and counter-attacking soccer seemed like it was our destiny.
Now, I have my doubts about how successful that would've been over 90 minutes -- Sporting KC are far more athletic, have a much deeper bench and more experienced defense -- but it would've been a nice test for KC heading into a very tough stretch the next few weeks. (More on that later.)4. KC are very good at home. Especially at the start of the season.
It its 17 years of existence, KC have lost its first game of the season at home exactly twice -- in 1999 and 2009. It hasn't mattered if it was Arrowhead, CommunityAmerica or Livestrong Sporting Park. For what it's worth, Saturday was the team's 10th regular-season win at LSP for the record.5. But let's not get too wrapped up with the great result.
While KC starts the season well historically, it's the period a few weeks after that are often troublesome. Anyone else remember two years ago when the then Wizards demolished D.C. United 4-0 and then tipped Colorado 1-0? Yeah, they went 0-3-5 over the next two
So, while it's good to be positive, let's not get too carried away.6. How about Seth Sinovic getting his own little section.
One of KC's locally grown players ( insert link pimping my article from last week's Ink ), the leftback had the best game (attacking-wise) of his brief career. He earned his first point on a lovely assist to Sapong for the team's third goal and was instrumental in all of KC's goals against his former team. He was my Man of the Match (you can hear me talk more about it on the Talkin' Touches podcast
His run on this play, culminating in Kamara's goal, was just excellent.