Sporting Kansas City has lost three of its last four, including a 2-1 defeat Sunday at the hands of FC Dallas.
The week, which started off promising enough with the club looking to solidify itself as the Western Conference’s early frontrunner, couldn’t have gone worse. A pair of turnovers propelled the Colorado Rapids to victory midweek at Children’s Mercy Park, and then in rain-soaked Frisco, Texas, FC Dallas blitzed the Sporting KC defense to another one-goal difference.
Here are three thoughts on Sporting KC’s latest defeat:
Coelho’s effort spurs Olum’s goal
Lawrence Olum was credited with his first goal of the season in the 22nd minute, sliding into space to finish a diving header, but it was Nuno Coelho who set everything into motion.
Coelho’s run into the six-yard box pulled FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz away from the middle of the goal and toward the near post, effectively eliminating the angle he had to deal with a ball squirting across the box as it did in this situation. If Coelho doesn’t attempt to redirect Benny Feilhaber’s cross, Seitz is there to pounce on the ball. But by making the run, it forced Seitz to shuffle away from where he wanted to be on the corner attempt.
It was no doubt Sporting KC’s best corner of the night. The short corners were poor and lacked direction. The rest were floated well beyond the box. This is simply one of several ways Sporting KC can utilize its limited height advantage to pull opposing players out of position on corners and free kicks.
Simple mistakes continue to pile up in Sporting KC’s three losses
Careless turnovers were to blame on Wednesday in the loss to the Colorado Rapids. On Sunday, a lethargic clearance attempt and ill-advised foul ultimately led to both FC Dallas goals and the home side’s three points.
While Matt Besler did misjudge the desperation through ball that built up to FC Dallas’ opening goal, it was Amadou Dia’s decision not to kick the ball away from danger that proved to be the nail in the coffin.
Dia was then whistled for a foul just outside of the box in the 66th minute despite having help on either shoulder. Holding up Maximiliano Urruti would’ve allowed another teammate to step in and clear the ball. At the very least, doing so would’ve forced Urruti into an off-balance shot.
“On both goals, the ball could have been cleared.” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said after the match.
Sporting KC’s issues in its three losses haven’t been the result of personnel or even tactics, but rather too many lapses in situations that call for quick decision-making. It really has been that simple. So, instead of trying to force Michael Barrios to the sideline, or playing a difficult ball across the field in your own third, kick the ball into the stands and get resituated for the corner, or play the ball up the sideline safely.
Sporting KC is going to be fine, but these “little things” are beginning to pile up and affect the results of the games, as we’ve seen this week.
A few insta-reactions …
▪ Jimmy Medranda was quite good on Sunday. While he was unable to finish a 1v1 in the second half, Medranda made five recoveries and four interceptions defensively … this against a lethal attacking side in FC Dallas.
▪ Flashes of Diego Rubio’s skill set continue to show. But at 22, he’s still piecing it all together. Against Colorado, Rubio was especially good at switching the field with a laser of a diagonal ball. He’s also unafraid to work the middle of the field and link up with teammates there.
▪ Brad Davis was great with the ball at his feet everywhere except on crosses, which says more about the type of guys surrounding him. Since Kei Kamara’s departure, Sporting KC has been unable to find a player who specializes on getting on the end of crosses. That will need to change if the club wishes to maximize the Davis investment.
▪ The door is open for Seth Sinovic to take over at left back after Dia’s recent struggles. So much of this sport is “What have you done for me lately?” and Sinovic surely is itching to return to the starting lineup.
▪ I would love to hear the reasoning behind sticking Dom Dwyer — the shortest player on the field — in the middle of the wall on Mauro Rosales’ free kick, because in the moment, it proved rather odd.