Over the weekend Sporting KC lost to Columbus, 1-0, in a game that many had pegged as a win.
This dropped SKC to 1-2-1.
There are not a lot of positives to take away from the game. In fact, the team seems to have reverted back to its 2010 form.
SKC managed just one or two shots on goal for the entire game.
Yes, the ownership group is passionate and innovative and yes, the stadium looks sweet – but that doesn’t matter without the result on the field.
The next few games will be key in determining just how big of a party we can expect for the home opener at the new stadium on June 9th.
Among the immediate issues is the midfield play. I know, most observations have been focused on the center of the defense. However, Sporting’s inability to possess the ball came to the forefront after this lackluster effort in Columbus. That being said, I expect new signing Julio Cesar to be gone within the next few weeks, replaced by French newcomer Aurelian Collin.
The main thing though, is that I would have to question whether Davy Arnaud is the man for the center midfield job, and whether his pairing with Birahim Diop and Milos Stojchev is going to work. I like Stiojchev, but Davy has been invisible for a few games and he may need to be benched. Since he is the captain, this will be a hard decision for Vermes to make, but for the good of the team it’s necessary.
The Columbus game was back and forth, with neither team getting any real chances on goal.
But in the early stages of the second half, Columbus broke through with a goal on a ball in behind the KC defense. Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen played admirably and made some nice saves, including a kick save on a ball that should have been put away, but that wasn’t enough to salvage much positive from the event.
In my estimation, Sporting is missing a midfield that could allow it to possess the ball in the attacking third.
The combination of Arnaud, Diop, and Stojchev is not working.
Granted, the attacking core of SKC is solid, with CJ Sapong, Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, and Omar Bravo (when he is healthy), but that doesn’t work if no one can get them the ball in attacking positions.
That’s not giving the defense a blank check or anything. Julio Cesar was spotty, before being awarded an undeserved second yellow, but that’s not really the issue.
Sporting continues to play an uninspired style that creates little and relies on opponents mistakes to score goals.
All this when their "style" is to impose their high pressure attack on opponents.
Given, the team would be better with Omar Bravo and Ryan Smith, both of whom are injured, but this Sporting team needs to find a way through this tough 10 game road trip and at the least forge an identity out of it.
At the moment it seems like SKC is asking more questions than it has answers for, which at this stage in the season is not what what anyone would hope for.