Yes, this was a U.S. Open Cup game. And yes, it’s worth noting that most of the New England Revolution’s best players didn’t start.
But tell that to Sporting Kansas City, a team that’s experienced a season’s worth of heartbreak in two mere months. Indeed, for coach Peter Vermes and his players, their 5-0 destruction of the Revolution on a rainy Wednesday night at the Blue Valley District Activities Complex was not just a revelation, it was also a relief. This was a win, Sporting KC’s first since April 6, one that snapped a five-match losing streak and injected a struggling team with some much-needed good vibes.
“Without a doubt, we let out some frustration tonight,” star forward Omar Bravo said through a translator. Bravo did his part in that. As did former No. 1 overall pick Chance Myers. Those two were right in the middle of the karma change, and they made sure Sporting KC got on the board first. The first goal came when Bravo chased down a ball on the left side in the ninth minute and sent in a perfect cross to Myers, a forward who turned in a pretty finish with a sliding, one-footed goal.
The Myers-Bravo combo wasn’t done yet, either. After New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth made on a great save on a point-blank blast from Bravo, the ball rolled to the feet of an approaching Myers, who drilled it into the goal to give Sporting KC a 2-0 lead in the 19th minute.
Sporting KC buried New England for good in the 24th minute when recently acquired defender Seth Sinovic, a Rockhurst graduate, sent in a cross to rookie forward C.J. Sapong, whose sliding finish made the score 3-0 and drove the announced crowd of 1,228 — which braved the rainy, cold weather to cheer on their team — into a frenzy.
“There’s a real joy in being able to play in front of our home fans, because everywhere we go right now, we’re the enemy,” Vermes said, referring to his team’s 10-game road trip to start the season.
And it’s worth noting that when Aurelien Collin scored in the 81st minute and Sapong scored again in the 88th minute, fans cheered just as loudly. They were rejoicing in the rout, just like the players, and really, it’s hard to blame them. Not only did Sporting KC enter the match with a 1-6-1 MLS record, it was also coming off a 1-0 loss to Seattle in which it blew a hard-earned draw by allowing an extra-time goal on a set piece. Sporting KC – which staved off numerous set pieces chances by New England on Wednesday – will need to repress those memories again Saturday, when they travel to Colorado for their ninth MLS game of the season.
But while their latest victory obviously won’t count in the MLS standings — they instead advance to the round of 16 in the Open Cup — it appears it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s good to get a victory, obviously,” Myers said. “We haven’t had one in a whilehopefully we can carry it into the weekend.”