Donnelly: Sporting Self Destruct to Drop 3rd in a Row, Vermes Rips Refs


Sporting Kansas City played a decent first half Saturday at the Chicago Fire

Bobby Convey notched his first goal of the season with a one-timer that was set up nicely by Roger Espinoza’s cut back cross and KC went to the locker room at the half up on the home side 1-0.

The second half was a completely different story. By the time the final whistle blew, Sporting had conceded a penalty, been shown a red card, and saw one of its alleged leaders attempt a fancy juggle inside his own 6 yard box which resulted in the go ahead Chicago goal.

Yeah, total nightmare.

So after starting the season 7-0, KC now sits at 7-3. Sure, the results have been disappointing, but more troubling has been Sporting’s play of late.

Again the defense got caught napping which allowed a Chicago attacker to get in behind them.  Just like last game, Aurelien Collin made a last gasp sliding tackle that may have been unnecessary due to the poor angle.  And just like last game, the tackle may actually have been clean.  And just like last game, the ref signaled for a penalty.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that when the attacking player feels contact on a breakaway in the box, he’s going to go down.  And the ref is almost certainly going to blow the whistle.  Collin should know these things, yet he continues to make the same mistakes.   

A few minutes after Chicago buried the penalty to tie the game, KC’s Espinoza went airborne and struck Chicago’s Sebastian Grazzini in the face with a fore arm, which resulted in a straight red.  The Sporting bench protested vigorously, and continued to show their displeasure with the call after the game.

"I can’t comment on the penalty kick, but the red card is not a red card," complained KC boss Peter Vermes.  "Two years now here, in a row, we come here and we have two red cards which aren’t red cards, which completely changes the outcome of the game."    

After Roger was sent off things REALLY deteriorated.

KC looked aimless and ineffective as they tried to just hold on for dear life and escape Chicago with at least one point.  Then one of the most careless and baffling plays I’ve seen in quite a while occurred to stab KC in the collective heart. 

Kei Kamara tracked back into his own goal box – a good thing for sure, especially when you’re playing a man down.  A high ball was served into the box and Kei attempted to bring the ball down.  But rather than clearing the ball, Kei swiveled, popped the ball up on his knee and attempted a more difficult clearance. 

You can guess what happened next. 

A Chicago attacker swooped in, stole the ball, and touched it across the goal mouth to an onrushing Dom Oduro.  Oduro slid the ball into KC’s net putting Chicago up 2-1 for good, and leaving Jimmy Nielsen and the rest of the Sporting defensive line shaking their heads. 

"On the second goal, mistake on Kei," said Vermes.  "He should have cleared it and heads up to their player for making a quick play that we could have easily cleared it, and we would have been out of there with no problem.”

I can’t believe Vermes didn’t bench Kei right then and there.  That play was simply unacceptable in my book.

Instead, Vermes directed copious amounts of venom at the ref, who was centering his first MLS game. 

"The referee is there to ref the game, not to be part of the show," said Vermes.  "And today, that’s what he made himself.  He made himself part of the show.  And that’s disappointing, because players, they work hard, they are the ones who are the entertainers on the field, not him, and unfortunately that’s what the game was like today.  He changed the game.” 

While the officiating in MLS is nothing if not wildly inconsistent, those are some harsh and pointed words from Vermes.  But the bottom line is that KC has dropped 3 in a row now, they aren’t scoring goals lately, and they’ve been breaking down defensively. 

KC needs to focus on the things they can control- like defensive shape, like finding some offensive creativity – and get back their winning mentality that was so present early on this season.    

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4 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting Self Destruct to Drop 3rd in a Row, Vermes Rips Refs

  1. % says:

    Vermes is insane if he doesn’t think Espinoza’s flying forearm is acceptable in the run of play. It was just reckless by Roger at best, and willfully dangerous at worst.

    And yes, Kei’s play was clumsy. Which is why he plays forward. Which is why it’s acceptable to question which defender was not occupying the far side of the box on that play and why.

    Sporting will probably be OK. I’m sure they’ll turn things around, although next weekend’s road tilt in Colorado would be a tough place to get things going in the right direction. Colorado is shiftless on the road but usually pretty tough at home.

    Trouble is Vermes needs to get some new players going and rotate the lineup some. Hey Matthew, any inside dope on why Bunbury isn’t seeing much of the pitch?

  2. Matt says:

    I agree, %
    Roger’s flying elbow was ridiculous and had to be a straight red. Not sure what Vermes is talking about with his “that was not a red” stuff.

    As far as Teal, I don’t have any secret info. I think missing a fair amount of time with the US U-23s hurt him quite a bit. Plus, if you haven’t noticed, his touch on the ball is fairly poor and has not improved much since his rookie year. Plus CJ is stronger and better in the air, which is where a lot of Sporting offense is generated (crosses, corners, set pieces).

    I think we need to shake up the lineup, mostly the three forwards. Not sure what that entails, but I would at least entertain plugging some different pieces in for Cesar, Convey, and CJ.

  3. Matt says:

    How about sliding Zusi up top and letting Peterson or Nagamura have a go in the midfield?

  4. the dude says:

    three losses in a row,
    not looking good, like you said something needs to be mixed up on offense to hopefully trigger something. Even in the wins sporting had the offense started to get more anemic as the season went on. Defense got sloppy so here we are.

    This is where you need to show off them coaching skills Vermes, make the proper adjustments.

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