Although they’re normally the aggressor, the tables were turned on KC and it seemed to confuse and frustrate Peter Vermes‘ boys. The Dynamo, not KC, were the squad that pressed and harried relentlessly, giving Sporting no time on the ball in the back and midfield.
“The game started out OK,” Vermes said afterwards. “I think the heat got to us a little bit.”
The Dynamo looked more physical and confident. They all seemed to be on the same page, fully prepared with a game plan to stifle Sporting’s strengths.
Whereas after about 35-40 minutes, Sporting looked like they were resigned to their fate.
Multiple players turned into ghosts, especially the midfield.
“If you look at the number of fouls in the middle of the field, when you look at where they took place ’cause every time we won the ball, even when our central defenders had the ball, there was a foul from behind and it broke the rhythm,” Vermes explained after the game. “It’s tactical play. They did a great job of it.”
Houston was able to play its tactical game thanks in part to a 30 yard half-volley scorcher in the 18th minute from Adam Moffat.
Several minutes later Houston striker Will Bruin whiffed on a point blank shot from 8 yards out that could’ve really decimated Kansas City.
Instead, the breathing room came for Houston in the second half from Bruin, as he one-timed a nice strike across his body to finish off a Houston counter attack.
Sporting really never looked very dangerous, had only a single shot on target all game long, and were lucky to escape just two goals down in the aggregate series.
“I don’t believe we showed who we were today,” said White Puma Jimmy Nielsen.
Vermes knows his squad laid a big ass egg.
And it seems the expectations and pressure that now comes with the SKC territory is showing up a little bit.
“We didn’t play well enough, it was simple,” said Vermes. “We don’t have just one guy that runs our team. We have 11 on the field, all of them play together. It is what it is. We all score, we all defend. It just an all around team. It’s not one guy running the show for us.”
A little defensive from Ol’ Pete, eh?
But honestly, who do you think he’s attempting to defend with that “We’re a team” deal? It could be almost anyone after that dismal showing – Zusi, Kamara, Collin, Cesar, Sinovic, Myers, Espinoza.
That’s seven out of 11 starters in my book. When most of your guys have an off day at the same time, things aren’t going to end well. Especially against an experienced team like Houston, who have made a practice of thrashing Kansas City over the years.
But… it’s not over folks. No, not even close.
KC just needs three goals on Wednesday. Tall order? You bet. Doable? Definitely.
“We are down two at halftime,” said KC defender Seth Sinovic of the home-and-home series. “We are going to come back in the second half and we are going to win it. There is plenty of game left.”