Sporting Kansas City battled its way to a second straight 0-0 draw over the weekend, this time at the New England Revolution, extending the team’s shutout streak to 249 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty. But it was especially ugly for the home squad who didn’t even register a shot until the second half, and ended the game without a single shot on target. That doesn’t happen very often.
Responsible for the wretched play, at least in part, was the miserable weather. Winds gusting to 30 miles per hour and temperatures in the low 40s made both teams adjust a bit, turning the match into a scrappy, sloppy battle to see who could minimize their mistakes most effectively.
“This was terrible conditions for a game,” said KC boss Peter Vermes afterwards. “It was a miserable environment… You just want to get the ball in the other team’s end and let them make a mistake, opposed to you making a mistake.”
KC sported a bit of a different lineup since center back Matt Besler, and midfield playmaker Graham Zusi were both with the US Team in Colorado, fighting their way through one of the snowiest games you’ll ever see.
Newcomer Ike Opara got his first start with his new club, and he looked fairly solid in the back in general. Mechak Jerome also started again, in for the injured Chance Myers. Soony Saad started up top for Zusi.
To say that both teams’ offense was lackluster might be a bit of an understatement. Neither squad was particularly sharp in possession, but KC at least created a couple decent scoring opportunities, and rattled one off the post in the first half off a long throw in that bounced around inside the 12 for a few moments before it was eventually cleared.
“I don’t think (having Zusi and Besler) would have helped today,” said Vermes. “I think this game was really just about two teams battling, just trying to get lucky.”
I suppose, but New England isn’t exactly a powerhouse. They’ve scored one goal so far this season, and that was against a wretched Chicago team. Even with KC playing several relative newcomers, that’s the kind of game where sneaking out with a 1-0 win can be huge.
That being said, with KC participating in three different competitions this season (MLS, Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League) it was good to get some different players real game experience.
“What’s good about this game today actually is with (Besler and Zusi) gone, it gave us a chance to get to where we wanted to be anyway,” explained Vermes. “And that’s with the three competitions coming here fast and furious, I need those guys to get experience. So having a game like this, I think was very good.”