Sporting Kansas City went to Vancouver, and all they came back with was a lame 3-3 draw and the bitter taste of what could have been on their lips. Hopefully, they got a t-shirt, a floaty pen at the airport or something.
Teal Bunbury put in two goals and generally looked fully recovered form a dislocated elbow. Jimmy Nielsen stood on his head and had his best game for Kansas City. And the defense -- featuring a different starting back four for the the third-straight game -- looked about as leaky as a something with a lot of holes in it. (I can't find my thesaurus this evening.)
What did we learn from the Whitecaps comeback? Or should that be Kansas City's collapse? Here are 11 questions I've got.
1. Really Kansas City? Really?
Any time a team loses a three-goal lead it is bad. Losing a three-goal lead to an expansion team with just 20 minutes remaining and let in two stoppage time goals is Nickleback bad.2. Positives?
The best I can do: It's only one game. Sporting Kansas City still left Canada with a road point and have now earned 4 points out of their first three road games. Most reasonable media members and fans would've pegged the team for 10 points heading into June 9.
Also, the team doesn't have an MLS game until April 16. This week, they travel to Houston for the US Open Cup (Wednesday 7 p.m.).3. OK, but it sucks right?
Don't get me wrong. That was a sucker punch to the solar plexus. It might not have been a loss, but itfelt
like a loss.
It all went wrong at precisely the 72nd minute when the defense drew back, the midfield was overrun, the forwards got stranded up top and the defensive line got stretched out.
Vancouver stuck a goal off the break by playing down the left-hand side. Then another created down the left-hand side. Then another right up the middle. They got one more look at goal (a real serious threat that almost got past Nielsen) before the final whistle.
20 minutes, 3 goals. Most of them from counter-attacks.5. Why was KC still attacking with a three-goal lead?
That's a really fantastic question. I honestly don't think I can answer it.6. Did Kansas City run out of gas?
Yes, almost to a man, KC ran out of gas. Milos Stojcev, Julio Cesar and Birahim Diop all looked to have cramped up. Kei Kamara too. Teal Bunbury just looked beat. Michael Harrington was playing his first 90 minutes of the season and looked it toward the end. Davy Arnaud and Cesar had to be subbed off with leg injuries.
After the game, Peter Vermes told The Star: "I really think fatigue had a lot to do with it tonight."7. Wait, wasn't "fitness" the first thing Peter Vermes preached when he took over the reins in 2009? Didn't the team spend the entire pre-season working on improving the team's overall fitness?
You can excuse Kamara (who logged about 50 hours of air travel between California-England-Niger-Chicago-Kansas City-Vancouver) and Harrington (who was seeing his first action). But you can't excuse Vermes not subbing off one of those two guys. Is it a coincidence that most of Vancouver's dangerous play came down that side? Why am I including questions inside of other questions?
Let's get back on track.8. Why was Jimmy Nielsen the man of the match?
Without The White Puma, Vancouver wins that game 5-0. I'm not over-exaggerating. With the defense gifting possession in the box and the 'Caps putting pressure on the goal, Nielsen made save after save after save after save. If he doesn't show up at least once in MLS Save of the Week, they just better stop giving that award out.9. So, am I just going to gloss all over Teal Bunbury's accomplishments?
No, of course not. Returning to the country of his father, Bunbury showed some world-class skills on both of his goals.
A beaut despite the horrible camera work.
Brilliant little trick and tuck into the near side.
Think about this: In 135 minutes, he's got three goals. In 1,549 minutes last year, Josh Wolff had two goals.10. Did anyone else think KC's celebrations were a bit subdued?
When Teal Bunbury scored the first goal, it seemed to catch not only the cameraman by surprise, but the rest of his team. He gets mobbed, but it's sort of a quiet mob. On his second goal, Bunbury just pounds his chest, gets a few taps and that's it. (On Kamara's goal, the team gives it a proper celebration.)
Maybe it's nothing, but usually when someone scores a goal in a soccer game he reacts as if he just found out Angelina Jolie was interested in him and discovered $10,000 in his sock drawer. Simultaneously.11. How amazing were the sight-lines at Empire Field?
I don't think a lot of MLS stadiums have anything close tothis view.
It sure beats the view in Chicago of... was it a train yard? I think it was a train yard.Bonus question: How many points do you think KC will have going into June 9th's home opener?
I think they'll get to 12. But it won't be comfortable.
I'd love to know what your thoughts, questions and ideas are after that game. Disappointed? Have you come to terms with it? How many points will KC get to by June 9th?