For 89 minutes, Sporting Kansas City did everything it needed to do to leave Livestrong Sporting Park with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders and keep its unbeaten streak alive at 15 games.
And, then, like a snap of your fingers, Kansas City forgot the first rule of playing a man down with a lead. And then they forgot how to tackle.
In the immortal words of Ron Burgandy, it"got of hand fast."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Which leaves me wondering and pondering the answers to these 11 questions.
Lost in the kerfuffle that followed Omar Bravo's red card (don't worry, that's coming up in a bit) was the fact that Kansas City did a miserable job of closing out the game.
When you're down a man and you've got a lead, what's the first thing you are taught to do? Get the ball out of your end and, if you can, into the corner. It's OK to start doing this around the 80th minute.
Yet, that's not what happened. At all.
Instead, you had Birahim Diop wildly clearing the ball to the middle of the field and Teal Bunbury taking a long-range shot on goal with Chance Myers streaking into a Milky Way galaxy-worth of space down the right.
Instead of closing out and taking the win, Sporting appeared hungry for more. And, while I tend to applaud that sort of aggression, I can't say I support it with a numerical disadvantage -- KC was down to 9 men with Luke Sassano barely able to stand let alone run and/or tackle.
It's just not smart and shows a surprising lack of composure.2. Was it a red card?
Speaking of "lack of composure," let's get into Bravo's red card. I wrote on Sunday that I thought it was a red without question. I've watched it a few more times, and I still feel that way. I realize that this is an unpopular opinion amongst some Sporting Kansas City fans and I understand that.
It boils down to this: Bravo left his feet and led with his studs. Sure, he got to the ball first, but MLS is cracking down on those sort of challenges in lieu of a rash of leg breaks earlier this season. Referees are looking to adjudicate these tackles much more harshly than before. Bravo knows this. Peter Vermes knows this. The whole of MLS knows this. Why give the refs a reason?
If he didn't leave the ground or if he would have slid in with one foot, he likely stays in the game. Instead, the entire match switched directions because of a poor decision by KC's captain.**As I was watching the replay this morning, I couldn't help but think to myself, "That was a Davy Arnaud-like challenge." Perhaps it's the armband that made him do it. 3. Should Bravo be further reprimanded by the league for his actions afterwards?
If only Bravo's lack of composure stopped with a shoddy two-legged tackle. Unfortunately, his actions afterwards make me wonder if MLS might slap him with an extra game (or at least a fine) for his attempt to get Pat Noonan ejected with a dive. They've handed out suspensions for dives this year, so I wouldn't be surprised.4. Will Vermes be fined for his post-game comments?
After the game, KC's boss lashed out refs after game. Among the choicer bits: "As much as players are responsible and coaches are responsible when things don't go well -- they either don't play or get released -- the referees just keep coming back."
I expect that MLS will not take too kindly to this sort of rant.5. Who was the Man of the Match?
I think it's between Seth Sinovic -- I agree with James Starritt of Sporting Times who said it's time to stop calling him a bargain pickup and realize he's the first-choice left back from this point forward -- and Kei Kamara. Kamara was the goal-scorer and, generally, the most dangerous KC player on the field for 75 minutes. So, I'll give it to him.6. What happened on that last goal?
By my count, Sporting whiff on at least four tackles and Chance Myers should've/could've tucked in a little deeper to pressure the passing lane if I'm being honest. From the time Bravo got sent off until the time the whistle blew, KC's tackling was shocking.7. Was that the most insane save ever by Jimmy Nielsen?
If he doesn't win the Save of the Week for these two saves (TWO for the price of ONE!), they should just stop giving out the award.
It's a shame his birthday had to be spoiled by the result.8. When will SKC go the Full 90 against Seattle?
Kansas City beat the Sounders 1-0 in its first trip to Seattle two years ago. The meetings since haven't quite been as memorable. In fact, they've been downright depressing. Five-straight losses, three of which have seen the game-winning goal scoredafter
the 90th minute.
You all likely remember theThrow-in Game in 2010
and theJeff Parke header earlier this season
I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have brought those up.9. Thank God for Willie Nelson, am I right?
Thanks to this weekend's Farm Aid concert at Livestrong Sporting Park, the game against the Los Angeles Galaxy has been moved to Sept. 5.
It will be KC's first bye since May 7th. In between the two byes, KC laced up its boots for 17 MLS games, 3 U.S. Open Cup games and 1 friendly.
It's a well-deserved break for Sporting Kansas City.10. Is there a potential injury crisis looming?
One of the reasons KC needs the break is the injury plague that has struck -- again. Davy Arnaud and Aurelien Collin are a few weeks away (though Arnaud returned to training today). Craig Rocastle is just getting back to playing shape (he played 45 minutes in the reserve game on Monday). Chance Myers hasn't started the last two games with a quad injury (though he played as a sub on Saturday and in the reserve game on Monday). And now, both Jeferson and Luke Sassano suffered injuries against Seattle -- Sassano's bad enough that he needed an MRI on Monday.
Coupled with the suspension of Omar Bravo, KC could be without at least three key players against Portland on Aug. 17th.11. What's the deal with Jeferson?
The Brazilian DP had to be subbed off in the 39th minute after an apparent injury. How bad was it? Will he miss time? How much? And, for the love of Pele, why did he stagger from the penalty box to within three feet of the touchline before collapsing into a heap to just lie there waiting for Seattle to kick it out of bounds?
It seemed so ridiculous. Why didn't he just stay down where the injury occurred? Why didn't he just roll out of bounds himself?