Did you see Sporting Kansas City’s new “third kit” that was unveiled Saturday for a game against the Portland Timbers at Sporting Park?
According to a Sporting press release, the stylish threads are supposed to be a bridge between fashion and sport, something you could wear out for a night on the town or for a 90 minute match on the pitch. But after the Portland Timbers beat the boys in black 3-2 – which included twice coming from behind – we’ll see how often the flashy new unis see the light of day.
But I’m sure Chance Myers is a fan. The starting right back notched his first ever MLS goal in just the first minute of play, and followed that with another midway through the first half. Despite going behind the eight ball early, though, Portland didn’t let up and beat Sporting at their own game, on their home field.
“We’ve been begging for teams to come here and (attack),” said Sporting Keeper Jimmy Nielsen after the loss. “They did, and we didn’t have an answer for it.”
I’ve talked about this a little this season – the fact that KC’s style leaves them vulnerable to counterattacks – especially when the opposition boasts speedsters like Portland’s Darlington Nagbe and Ryan Johnson.
“I don’t even want to talk about the LA game because it had a lot to do with the fact that we were tired,” explained KC boss Peter Vermes afterwards. “But in this game, it’s the fact that we were poor in possession. When you lose the ball like we did in the areas of the field that we did and then you have to travel so far to win it back, at some point you’re going to then open up as a team.”
That being said, this was one of the most entertaining MLS games in quite some time. Despite Sporting drawing first blood, Portland shelled Nielsen early on, and the Dane came up with a handful of top class saves.
All told, Sporting notched 18 shots with 6 on target, while Portland fired 12 with 7 seven on frame.
So how does the league’s arguably best defense get shelled like this, at home no less? And remember, Nielsen and both center backs – Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler – were all named to the MLS Best XI last season. And they went over 500 minutes this season without conceding a goal.
However on this night, the D looked pedestrian, and Sporting didn’t have the fatigue to blame like they did against LA.
“Defensively, the second goal was a 70 or 80 yard run,” said Vermes. “There’s no way that should take place over the course of a match, especially playing at home. We weren’t good in those moments and it hurt us big time.”
KC gets back to it on Sunday in KCK, for an afternoon matchup against Chivas USA who are currently sitting at 4th in the Western Conference.