Donnelly: Beat at Their Own Game, Sporting Loses Thriller 3-2

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.
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2 Responses to Donnelly: Beat at Their Own Game, Sporting Loses Thriller 3-2

  1. the dude says:

    Eh, Sporting doesn’t really play counterattack ball so to say they got beat at their own game is misleading. When you press defenders up and depend on offsides calls that don’t get called this is what happens sometimes.

  2. Markus Aurelius says:

    Though the result sucked, have to agree with Matt’s comment that this game was one of the most entertaining MLS games in quite some time.

    Most of the time I think Vermes’ post-game comments are just fluff that sounds nice but I think he was right on the money this time. Despite the two nice goals by Myers, with the 2nd one really being a great possession, we were terrible in possession most of the night. How many bad/slow passes did we make that were intercepted and taken the other way by Portland. Myers was a hero with his first two MLS goals ever but he was a zero several times trying to get the ball in from the wing. He’s usually better than he was on Sat at getting the ball in. Maybe the goals distracted him but he had several bad balls coming in from the wing and at least 2 short passes intercepted. Feilhaber also did not look very in sync throughout the game. Nagamura and Uri did fairly well but I think they’re better off with Zusi in the midfield and Peterson up on the wing. If we get Kamara back I think they need to put him back at right wing and move Zusi back to the midfield.

    I’m not sure what it was on Sat but we didn’t have much offensive sync through the game. I actually liked CJ out on the left wing if they could bring it up with Sinovec overlapping as CJ drops into the box. That chemistry and feel can develop over time I think – in the same way that Myers and Kamara have done. However, we have to clean up our passing in the midfield and show more effort. Uri and Paulo both have stoked their engines to make up for the loss of Espinoza but Benny seems to be playing one gear slower right now.

    It doesn’t sound like Kamara is coming back based upon this article –

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