Matt Besler reflects on Sporting KC's 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy
The blueprint was divulged at 6:18 p.m. Sunday.
An hour before it greeted the LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City released a starting lineup that featured its full allotment of offensive firepower, triggering a new formation.
Brad Davis infused credence into the gameplan.
The Galaxy returned the favor.
Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw Sunday in front of 19,431 fans at Children’s Mercy Park, which welcomed its 75th consecutive sellout.
Sporting KC, 4-4-2, extended its winless streak to five matches, and it failed to reap the benefits of a one-man advantage for the second time in four days, despite attempting 17 shots in the match.
“It seemed like a bit of a dominant performance — but we have to find ways to come out with a win,” Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi said. “We created so many opportunities. Unfortunately, only one was on goal. That needs to get better.”
The frustration built after Sporting KC played the final 20 minutes up a man.
LA Galaxy defender Ashley Cole picked up two yellow cards in a span of 14 seconds in the 70th minute, forcing an early walk to the locker room. Asked what led to the ejection, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena responded, “I have no idea.”
In any matter, it’s the fourth time this season a Sporting KC opponent has finished the match with 10 men.
Sporting KC has scored just once with the man advantage.
“I think every guy walks away frustrated,” Sporting KC captain Matt Besler said. “We expected to win games at home, especially when we play like that.”
The aforementioned lineup adjustment triggered an atypical departure from the 4-3-3 formation that has been a staple in coach Peter Vermes’ system. Sporting KC operated with a three-man back line of Matt Besler, Nuno Coelho and Ike Opara, pushing more numbers forward to press the action inside its home stadium. Zusi migrated from the top line to a dual-responsibility role that had him roaming the right sideline.
As a result, Sporting KC played the entire match the front foot, and it used the left foot of Davis to take a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Zusi guided a header into an open space, and after collecting the pass, Davis beat a pair of Galaxy defenders to bend a left-footed shot into the side netting.
“Beautiful goal,” Vermes said.
But the lead failed to accompany Sporting KC into the halftime locker room.
Working on the counter, Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes maneuvered through two missteps in the Sporting KC defense and sprung Giovani dos Santos into a foot race. Dos Santos lofted a shot over keeper Tim Melia.
Sporting KC owned 66.4 percent of the possession. It attempted 13 more shots.
Dos Santos evened the score.
“The only time they were able to counter us and get an open look, he sticks it in the net,” Besler said. “That’s something you have to swallow and live with.”
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 1
LOS ANGELES: Brian Rowe, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme, A.J. DeLaGarza, Emmanuel Boateng, Baggio Husidic, Sebastian Lletget (Jeff Larentowicz, 62nd), Gyasi Zardes, Mike Magee (Robbie Rogers, 72nd), Giovani Dos Santos (Jose Villarreal, 90th).
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia, Seth Sinovic, Ike Opara, Nuno Coelho, Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda (Justin Mapp, 82nd), Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Brad Davis, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer.
Los Angeles: 2, Dos Santos 4 (Zardes), 42nd. Kansas City: 1, Davis 2 (Zusi, Besler), 27th.
Shots on goal
Los Angeles: Cole, 69th; Villarreal, 90th+. Kansas City: Opara, 82nd.
Los Angeles: Cole, 70th.
Kansas City: None.
Referee: Chris Penso. Assistants: Corey Parker. Brian Dunn. 4th Official: Caleb Mendez.