Sporting KC

Sporting KC has miserable offensive night on its home field in loss to FC Dallas

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes: “It’s shame on us”

Sporting Kansas City loses 2-0 to FC Dallas on Saturday July 20, 2019.
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Sporting Kansas City loses 2-0 to FC Dallas on Saturday July 20, 2019.

The ball trickled toward the goal at a particularly slow pace, the noise inside Children’s Mercy Park growing in correspondence. As it finally crept across the line, an eruption from the stadium’s south end arrived.

Mocking in nature.

Because on a night when it had a chance to squeeze tighter into the playoff race, Sporting Kansas City produced 90 minutes defined by their lack of offensive precision. The only time the ball found the back of the net — the moment prompting the crowd reaction — came long after the play had been whistled dead.

The result: FC Dallas departed Children’s Mercy Park with a 2-0 victory.

Sporting KC tried 17 shots before one even required a goalkeeper, an astounding sequence of misses in front of goal.

“If you get chances like we do, and you don’t score them, it’s shame on us,” Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. “Simple as can be.”

The first shot left Graham Zusi’s right foot, but it produced an arching pop-up that splattered the signage draping the second deck. Gianluca Busio hit the same spot later. Then Johnny Russell missed wide. Daniel Salloi saw his attempt blocked in front of net.

Sporting KC couldn’t finish — or even come close — on any of its first 16 shots. It tested FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez with its final two, but far too late.

“You just gotta score. You have to,” Zusi said. “It’s a little bit of that same old story where we’re creating chances, but tonight we didn’t finish them.”

The carrot of the playoff line dangled in front of Sporting KC, a two-match winning streak the only requirement for its appearance. Even in a season consisting of more downs than ups, a victory Saturday could have placed the club within one point of the playoff line, with the final spot occupied by FC Dallas. The margin will be at least five Sunday morning and could grow to six depending on late results Saturday.

“The way that we played, the chances that we created, there’s a lot of good things, but at this point in the season with where we’re at, we need results,” captain Matt Besler said. “It’s difficult to walk away from that game saying it was a good game from us. I think everybody in this room would have rather gone out and played worse and won the game. That’s what it’s about for us right now.”

The absence of accuracy was the blame on one end. A pair of mistakes stand as the blame on the other.

FC Dallas used goals from Dominique Badji (37th minute) and Jesus Ferreira (57th) for the final margin. Ferreira simply picked defender Botond Barath’s pocket and slid a shot past Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia. On the first goal, Seth Sinovic dipped a pass backward that missed Busio and instead fell to FC Dallas forward Michael Barrios. He shifted a pass to Badji for the goal.

Sporting KC used its healthiest lineup in months, featuring Russell for the first time in seven games and even including Roger Espinoza off the bench for the first time in three months. Wasn’t enough.

“For whatever reason, there’s something that’s just not clicking right now,” Besler said. “You could go down the list and dissect certain things. I don’t think anybody has the secret answer, whether it’s quality in front of goal or concentration in certain moments in the game or a stronger mentality at times. You could go down the list and question certain things.

“We gotta keep our head up and keep fighting.”

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