There aren't a whole lot of questions -- the usual gimmick for this post-game blog item -- surrounding Sporting Kansas City right about now.
Instead, there are cold, hard, irrefutable facts. Let's roll 'em.1. Sporting Kansas City are the only team in MLS to win its last two games.
The Sportings haven't lost in the last 6 games (including the U.S. Open Cup) and is one of only four teams that haven't been beaten in its last 5 games (New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are the others).2. Since Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler teamed up, KC have allowed just 3 goals.
On May 14, Julio Cesar and Collin started against Los Angeles in a game that ended in a 4-1 debacle. In the next game, Besler was inserted alongside the Frenchman and KC have never looked back -- 2-1-3 with just three goals allowed.*
After nearly a year and a half of searching, Peter Vermes finally found the duo he was looking for. Collin is the physical force; Besler the thinker. And Julio Cesar is the very well-traveled -- and well-paid -- backup.*Besler and Collin did start the New England game together earlier this season -- but that was an emergency pairing, as Julio Cesar had been suspended. It wasn't until the LA game the Cesar was moved to the bench. 3. CJ Sapong scored the first goal of the 2011 season and the first league goal at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The rookie definitely has a knack for scoring important goals, doesn't he? A few months ago, I wondered if Sapong was best used as a super-sub who could bring energy, toughness and grit into the game when necessary. I completely and totally admit to being flat-out wrong. Those qualities appear needed at kickoff.4. Seth Sinovic wins games.
On May 10th, KC made absolutely no waves when they announced the signing of the former Rockhurst standout. He's played in 4 games (3 league, 1 U.S. Open Cup game). KC is an impressive 3-0-1 with him in the lineup. Even more impressive, in those four games, Sporting have scored 10 goals.
Lucky charm? Or highly influential fullback who helps stretch and create space for Omar Bravo/Graham Zusi?
I vote for the later. And I also think Roger Espinoza is gonna have to fight for his starting spot back.5. Sporting is undefeated at Livestrong Sporting Park.
All right, granted, the sample size is very small. But, only three teams haven't lost at home in MLS this year: KC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. It's a fact.6. KC has a lot of games in hand on the Eastern Conference.
Sporting have played the fewest games in the league so far (13) and that leaves them with plenty of games in hand to make up on conference foes. Here are the number of games on each: 4 on Toronto FC; 3 on New England and Houston; 2 on Chicago and Columbus; and 1 on D.C. United, Philadelphia and New York.7. Only Sapong and Arnaud have featured in every single game this year.
The captain playing every game so far? Not quite surprising. The first-round draft pick playing ever game? Quite surprising.
Something else surprising about playing time? Matt Besler (990) has logged more minutes than anyone but Arnaud (1110).8. Sporting have been shown 5 red cards in 13 games...
... and not one of them has been shown to Davy Arnaud! I know, shocking.9. Chance Myers has appeared in more games this season than Omar Bravo, Roger Espinoza, Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith and Stephane Auvray.
I'll let that sink in.
What's more, Reserve League Jesus has started the last three games at right back. Total goals allowed in those 3 games? 1.
I'm as stunned as you are.10. Television hasn't done Livestrong Sporting Park justice.
In person, LSP is deafening. Like listening to 1988 Metallica playing in your garage.
On TV, LSP is merely loud. Like watching 2008 Metallica on YouTube.11. Livestrong Sporting Park should be the national stadium for the U.S. national team.
It's not quite a fact, but it really should be.