Donnelly: Sporting Swelters to 0-0 Tie & Share of Division Lead

It was the most boring game of the season…

Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Houston took place in sweltering heat over the weekend at LIVESTRONG. 

First off, I was happy to see Jacob Peterson in the starting lineup. The scrappy winger has straight up earned it with two goals in four appearances. He brings a relentless energy that boss man Peter Vermes loves, so I’m actually a bit surprised it took Peterson this long to get some substantial minutes.  But I guess when you’re trying to justify the Bobby Convey deal you’ve got to play Bobby Convey a lot.

Plus Peterson is one of the few Sporting players that is not content with taking the path of least resistance and dumping through-balls into the corners for surging fullbacks to run onto and cross into the box. Instead, Peterson likes to face up his man, maybe try and find a foot or two of space, and fire a shot from in front of goal, something that I have criticized this team for not doing enough.    

Houston started out playing composed and intelligent ball, attempting to impose their style on the game. In the 15th minute they broke through on a long diagonal ball, but Jimmy Nielsen came up with a spectacular save diving low and to his right, and nearly held the close range effort.

Simply a world class save, no other way to say it.  

Shortly after that Kei Kamara was on the attack, turning an opposing defender inside out, dropping him to his knees twice before laying off a nice ball to an onrushing Paolo Nagamura who blasted the ball out of the stadium.  Seriously, I think it maybe went into the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot. 

Then the heat really set in on the players and things got a little slow for the next 10 minutes or so until second winds were caught. Hell, I needed to catch mine just sitting up in the press box.

In the 33rd minute my new favorite player Jacob Peterson did what few Sporting players have been able to this season, as I mentioned above.  He received a ball on top of the box, took a slight touch to his right and unleashed a hard and low strike that beat the keeper but not the post, ricocheting back into the box.  The Houston defense was able to clean up the mess, but those kinds of shots are what KC needs more of.

In the end, the ball never did find the back of the net, but KC seemed content enough with the one point for a draw, as it moved the squad into a tie for first in the Eastern Conference.

"Look, you want to score," Vermes said after the game.  "But you can’t mistake performance for what the result is at the end of the game. Our performance was great."

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2 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting Swelters to 0-0 Tie & Share of Division Lead

  1. Superfreq says:

    Playing it safe
    While it wasn’t an exciting match, it got us a point and a share of first in the East. We were able to rest some starters a bit for the USOC semi in Philly this Wednesday, which I was ok with. I’m glad they brought JP in for Bunbury as well. When we play a Kamara, Bunbury, Sapong front line we are easy to defend as CJ & Teal are both CF’s and don’t play well out wide. I would rather see Jacob until Bobby Convey is at full health and have CJ & Teal sub for each other at the CF spot.

    I also think the heat played a role in keeping Collin back more in the match. After scoring 3 goals early he has been creeping up in the attack in the run of play. When he does that, it leaves us really open to counters out wide and some fairly easy shots on goal. I like Collin as a player, but he needs to stay back unless it’s a corner or set piece close to goal for us to be effective in defense.

    Now, here’s hoping for a win Wednesday and hosting the Open Cup final at Livestong Park

  2. the dude says:

    I agree with you
    superfreq, but when the offense is not closing the deal someone has to help score some goals. We desperately need some more straight on offense, corner dumps are too easy to defend, even at the MLS level.

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