On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City totally fell apart (to put it kindly*) in a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia.*Unlike most of you, I had the advantage of not watching this game. I was on vacation out of state all week and forgot to set my DVR. From what I read, maybe that's for the best.
It was the worst loss (numerically) under Peter Vermes as head coach. (The team lost to FC Dallas 6-0 in Curt Onalfo's last game as manager.)
The question I wondered: How has Sporting Kansas City responded in that period to losses? Sadly, the answer is not that well.
After the last 12 league losses, Kansas City has only won once. In that span, KC are 1-6-5 responding to a loss.
That's a rebound rate (what we'll call it when KC gets a win after a loss) of 8 percent. If you expand it out to include garnering any points (win or tie), then it jumps to exactly 50 percent. That's actually not to shabby when you think about it. Half of the time after a loss, KC got points.
Of course, those results are skewed slightly by last year's epic road trip (six of KC's losses in that span occurred during that trip) and even epic-er (not a word, I know) home stand.
So, I thought I'd dig a little deeper and go back all the way to Vermes' first game as manager* to see how his team responds to a loss.*It was, not surprisingly, the game after the 6-0 loss to Dallas. It was at home. To Chicago. Kansas City lost that game and the next two after it.
It's not that encouraging. Kansas City are 7-14-9 in the game immediately after a loss. That's a rebound rate of 23 percent (53 percent if we include earning a draw).
The numbers are a bit more nauseating when looking at rebound matches following a loss by more than 2 goals: KC have lost by 2 goals nine times under Vermes with only one win and seven losses (a rebound rate of an anemic 11 percent). When allowing 4 goals in the previous game, KC is 0-1-1 in the rebound match.**Admittedly, a very, very, very small sample size.
This all leads to a conclusion that anyone who has followed Sporting closely already kinda suspects: Kansas City loses matches in bunches. (Conversely: KC also tends to win in bunches.) It's a streaky team. Case in point this season: After winning the first seven games, KC lost the next three.
Starting on Aug. 16, 2009 (Vermes' first game), Kansas City have hadseven
winless streaks of three or more games. Two of those streaks have extended beyond three games: Eight from April 17 to June 5 in 2010 and 10 during the road trip in 2011.
(Again, conversely, KC have had four unbeaten streaks in that span, all stretching for more than five games.)
So, what have we learned?
Sporting KC is a streaky team (that often loses in bunches) with absolutely average results in rebound matches (53% of the time they earn at least point) and a very poor record in the next match after losing by more than 2 goals (only winning once in nine such games).
The first team on the docket, of course, is the Dayton Dutch Lions (of the third-tier USL Pro) in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup tonight.
This is either a blessing* or a, well,this**
.*Hard to believe, but this is only the second time under Vermes that KC has had an Open Cup fixture following a loss. Last year, Kansas City throttled New England 5-0 in the qualifying round after a 1-0 loss to Seattle. **Last year, Sporting KC lost to a USL-Pro team, the Richmond Kickers, in the quarterfinals. Not that you likely needed that reminder.
The next MLS opponent is the Chicago Fire on Friday.
Sporting's recent Open Cup history2010
2-1 loss to Colorado (Qualifying Round)2011
1-0 (OT) win over Houston (Qualifying Round)
5-0 win over New England (Qualifying Round)
3-0 win over Chicago Fire PDL (Round of 16)
2-0 loss to Richmond Kickers (Quarterfinals)2012
3-2 win over Orlando SC (Round of 32)
2-0 win over Colorado (Round of 16)