Despite leading 2-0 into the 88th minute of a game at league-leading Dallas, Sporting KC found a way to concede twice before the final whistle, escaping the Lone Star state with only a disappointing point for the draw.
Not that their 2-0 lead was all that deserving. The first goal came on a questionable penalty call, and the second was an own goal.
Dallas ended up doubling KC’s shot count, and forced Jimmy Nielsen to be a much more active participant than the home squad’s keeper.
But a lot of those chances came after a head-scratching red card was issued to CJ Sapong. From what I can tell, he fouled a guy in the midfield; then redirected the ball as another player kicked it, and it ended up hitting the fouled Dallas player who was on the ground. The ref was standing right above the fouled player and didn’t hesitate at all when he pulled out the red.
“I saw it, but I don’t know all of it because I don’t know where the ball came from,” commented KC boss Peter Vermes. “I can tell you this. I know CJ (Sapong). He would never try to intentionally kick a ball at someone. It’s just not his personality. I’m just telling you it’s not his personality.”
I agree with Vermes on this point. Sapong is not a dirty player. He gets beat up more than most guys due to his size and speed, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him retaliate. No way that’s red. Yellow at most.
From that point, Dallas poured it on. KC had little argument with sitting back in a defensive shell and riding out the clock. And they almost did. Anyone would do the same thing with such little time left on the road.
But KC was just tired and falling apart.
“Well, first of all, we don’t have this kind of heat right now in Kansas City, so that’s the first piece,” explained Vermes. “We were fine.”
Oh no. Sound familiar anyone? It’s just not a good look, we’ve been over this.
The first goal wasn’t so much of a mistake as it was a decent skimmed header that slipped into the top of the net. But the second goal was just lazy work from Kei Kamara, whose man completed about two steps toward the near bar with no resistance and headed home the tying goal.
But Kei manned up:
“Me personally, on both of the goals they scored I could have played a bigger hand in it but I let them slip away,” he said afterwards. “I had a big hand in letting those go.”
It was a good thing the ref blew the whistle a minute later, because KC looked like they might concede again at any moment.
The late breakdown was a dagger to a team that had all but marked the W on their board.
“It feels like a defeat to us,” lamented Kamara.
It did to us, too.