For one thing, there were no goals – the game ended in a 0-0 deadlock. Plus the weather was rainy and cold for Saturday’s midday game in Montreal and Sporting KC used a makeshift lineup due to having played in New York a couple days earlier. Inserted in the starting lineup were defenders Michael Harrington and Lawrence Olum and midfielders Uri Rosell and Jacob Peterson.
The lack of cohesion showed early and often for Sporting, as they struggled to create much offensively. But Montreal was similarly ineffective which made for a long day of battling it out in the midfield trenches.
Not helping the matter much was referee Jorge Gonzalez.
Gonzalez had little control of the match at any point in time and was regularly swarmed by both teams whenever he decided to blow the whistle.
Particularly egregious were Gonzalez’ decisions on several plays where KC players were intentionally dragged down from behind. Both times, he eventually blew the whistle, but somehow no yellow cards were issued.
That’s one of the easiest calls in the game, yet he failed miserably in its execution.
I really don’t even know what to say. Did Gonzalez not see either play? Was he distracted by Davy Arnaud’s constant complaining? When a player gets beaten, then reaches out and intentionally drags the other player down – particularly when it’s on a break, or a numbers advantage situation – a yellow card is MANDATORY. It’s a no–brainer.
I guess that’s home field advantage for you.
Not to say that Montreal didn’t have their gripes, too. Particularly on a no-call play in the second half that clearly showed KC defenseman Seth Sinovic contact the ball in the box with his forearm. Not a slam dunk call, but certainly something for Montreal to take issue with.
In the end Montreal probably had the better chances, particularly a close range shot from a wide open Arnaud that he sent wide of the goal. He followed up his horrific miss by smacking the turf with his hand four or five times and becoming even whinier.
For Sporting KC boss Peter Vermes, picking up the one point from the draw is just fine, especially after going into Red Bull Arena on Wednesday and getting the full three.
“It’s a massive point for us, especially coming of the game against New York mid-week,” Vermes said. “Overall, I thought that our commitment to the game plan and the organization on the field were excellent. To come here and get a result like we did, it’s a huge point for us.”
The Fire are currently are just two points back of KC and sitting second in the East. The Fire also have a game in hand on Sporting, making a result just that much more urgent.
If you’ve never been to a Sporting Kansas City game, this is the one you should check out.
The weather should be perfect – I anticipate probably the largest crowd in the building’s history – and both squads are smack in the middle of a playoff push that’s still wide open with only a few games left in the regular season.