After five games, Sporting Kansas City sit in 18th place in the table with 4 points. KC are tied for 1st in goals scored (10) and tied for second in goals allowed (12). All of this and KC has played just one team (Columbus) with a winning record.
Here are 11 Questions (with my own answers) following KC's 3-2 heartbreaker in New England.1. Did Aurelien Collin deserve a red card?
The story of the game was the controversial red for KC's new defender. I've watched it a ton of times now and here's my read: Collin commits an absolutely legal (but rough) challenge on Revs 'keeper Matt Reis. Several New England players -- Benny Feilhaber specifically -- take umbrage with the challenge and surround Collin on the ground.
Reis and Collin both exchange a few attempts at kicking each other while lying on the ground. Collin gets up as his teammates (including Birahim Diop specifically) come to his aide. As Collin turns, Diop reaches over his shoulder and pushes Feilhaber who, in turn, somewhat comically falls backwards. Call a flop a flop.
Further words are exchanged as referee Edvin Jurisevic reaches for a card. The card should've been shown to Diop. Of course, it wasn't. Instead, Collin was shown to the showers. As of Sunday, the team hadn't made a decision on whether they would appeal the red card.
Here's my problem: The ref had already shown signs of shoddy officiating (KC's second goal came from a penalty that was dubious to say the least). KC -- and Collin, who was sitting on a yellow card, specifically -- needed to ratchet down the intensity. Instead, they were still committing somewhat reckless challenge.
Of course, that's what happens when you have at least five players (Espinoza, Rocastle, Arnaud, Cesar and, now, Collin) who are prone to persistent infringement yellow cards and/or short fuses.
He'll play 15 games with Sporting. And sit in the team's box serving 14 red-card suspensions. Well, at least that's the rate he's on pace for.3. Does the MLS have a referee issue?
Obviously. Except, there's nothing they can do about it. The USSF controls the refs.4. What did Vermes have to say about the loss?
Not much. "We lost 3-2. There’s nothing else to say, other than that."5. Is that all he said?
No. Of course not. He also said: "I thought we played well. I thought we had some good spells in the game, not only offensively in the first half, but I think also defensively we were pretty solid, especially when we had 11 men on the field. That’s kind of been our story all season – 11 men on the field, we had good results. Ten men on the field – we don’t. That’s just kind of the way it’s been going so far."6. How bad is it? Put it into perspective?
It's pretty hard to put some perspective on the fact that KC is in the cellar. Though, they've only played 5 games. Every club but Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia have played more.7. So... worse than last year?
Position-wise? Sure. It's worse. But offensively? This is far better. Sporting's 10th goal of the season was scored in the 8th minute of the 11th game (June 10).8. Who was the man of the match?
Has to be Kei Kamara, right? Two goals. Generally looked dangerous. While it won't be a goal-of-the-week candidate (cause it happened inside the box), but his first was a beauty.
Though, he is partly at fault for Shalrie Joseph's game-tying goal. He failed to stay in front of the most dangerous player in the air.9. What stat stands out the day after?
0. Jimmy Nielsen made 0 saves. Hard to believe that's possible when a team allowed 3 goals.10. Things don't get easier from here, do they?
Kansas City finally (yes, finally) gets to the part of its road trip with the offensively-gifted teams. Gulp.
The New York Red Bulls with Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards? Um, not good.
Landon Donvan, Juan Pablo Angel, Junihno, David Beckham and the Galaxy are next.
Then the inventors of American soccer, Seattle. Then reigning MLS champs Colorado (who have the best strike tandem in MLS with Omar Cummings and Conor Casey).11. How many points will KC have on June 9th?
. Vermes' job is safe (for now). The team has 17 home games to play.
Having said all of that... I can't see this team earning more than 8 points before June 9. If we can all agree that it would take at least 48 points (adjusting for a 34-game schedule, 12 wins + 11 losses + 11 draws = 47 points) to make the playoffs, Sporting would need 11 wins (33 points) and 9 draws (9) over 24 games to theoretically sniff the playoffs.
So, to answer the question in my headline: It ain't over and the fat lady ain't warming up yet... but people are probably starting to ask where panic button is.