The Full 90

Another draw at the death for KC

In the 89th minute, Sporting Kansas City was up a man and desperate for a point -- there were only three defensive players on the field after Peter Vermes used all three subs to put forwards into the game.

The ball miraculously bounced to Teal Bunbury and, almost as miraculously, he managed to get enough foot behind it to score.

Point earned. Celebrations commence. Crowd goes wild.

If that sounds like a familiar plot, that's because it is.

In July, Sporting Kansas City finished three 1-1 draws in which they scored the last goal around or in stoppage time -- at home against Chivas and New England, on the road in Houston.

I am of three minds when searching for an explanation why Kansas City are able to score so late.

A) Through adversity -- namely, the 10-game road trip -- KC don't feel pressured when their backs against the wall.

This is the "optimistic" frame of mind. If they survived the road trip, trailing by a goal with 5 minutes to go isn't that daunting of a task, is it?

It's a form of confidence that is self-perpetuating -- do this sort of thing often enough, you start to believe you can always do it.

B) It's the luck of the unbeaten streak.

This is the "it's-all-part-of-the-ride" frame of mind. It's just part of the weird-ness surrounding the team's 13-game unbeaten streak. An unexplained anomaly that keeps the streak alive against all logic.

I prefer this explanation, if only because it allows most fans to just enjoy the excitement of the three goals and pumps up the aura of Livestrong Sporting Park -- where KC are now 3-0-4.

Case in point, don't just watch the video of Bunbury's goal, listen. It was the loudest I've heard the stadium this season.

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But, of course, it's not really a logical explanation...

C) Kansas City struggle to break down strong defensive teams until they have a decided numerical advantage.

Ah, the "pessimistic" tactical explanation.

While there is elation to scoring at the death -- the soccer equivalent of a hail-mary pass in football -- it's not all great news for Sporting Kansas City.

That's because they managed just the one late goal after dominating all three games. Dominating.

Possession: vs. Chivas 63%-37%, @ Houston 64.1%-35.9% and vs. New England 61.1%-38.9%. Shot attempts: vs. Chivas 16-14, @ Houston 24-6 and vs. New England 21-7.

You can't own a team like KC owned New England and Houston and just earn one point -- especially when the "numerical advantage" is quite literal. New England were down one man due to ejection, Houston were down two.

In all three cases, Vermes sent as many as 10 players forward to, finally, overwhelm the opposing defense.

Against New England, Vermes had the super unconventional 1-2-3-4 -- Matt Besler; Chance Myers, Roger Espinoza; Birahim Diop, Graham Zusi, Jeferson; Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara.

Myers and Espinoza were deployed as wingbacks, playing closer to mid-field than to Jimmy Nielsen; Zusi and Jeferson were advanced attacking midfielders just behind the forward line. The nine forward players were able to occupy nearly every Revolution defender.

And still, it required a moment of brilliance from Omar Bravo and a ton of luck to get the goal.

Which doesn't exactly say a lot about how well Sporting KC break down a defense in the regular run of play -- especially going into a tough stretch of games against well-coached and tough-to-break-down teams like Real Salt Lake and Seattle this week.

***

Regardless of the explanation though, the unbeaten streak continues and KC sits just 7 points out of first-place in the Eastern Conference. So, there's that.

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