Donnelly: Sporting KC Dig 2-1 Hole, Return Home Wednesday for Second Playoff Game

On Saturday night Sporting Kansas City lost the away leg of their two-game playoffs series against the New England Revolution, 2-1.

It wasn’t a very fluid performance by either team and the field itself added to the ugliness.  In true high school soccer form, New England’s field was all decked out with  Patriots logos and American football yard markers and such.  It was very distracting to watch on TV, to say the least.  And it reminded viewers that the MLS is still just the MLS.

But aside from the atrocious field, KC still had its chances, but could only put one in the net, which was a deflected ball that bounced through the box and found the foot of Aurelien Collin for the tap in.

At that point, KC was already trailing 2-0, so to get back that one goal was huge.  Or, should I say, BIG?

“It’s a big goal,” KC boss Peter Vermes said afterwards.  “It’s a big goal. It’s a big goal for us to lessen the gap. It’s good.”

While Vermes was generally pleased with his team’s performance, he didn’t hesitate to call out the refs – one of his favorite pastimes.  He took particular issue with New England’s first goal, which Jimmy Nielsen initially blocked before the ball ricocheted back into the path of an onrushing Revs striker who finished the play.

“Did you see the replay?” Vermes asked the reporters gathered around.  “When all three guys – when the shot’s taken – all three guys are offside. They can’t get an unfair advantage on that situation. It’s an easy call. It obviously doesn’t go that way, but we haven’t gotten any of those calls all year long, and we can’t ask for them now.”

He also pointed out a pretty obvious foul that easily could have resulted in a penalty for KC, but didn’t want to dwell too much on it.  Just a little bit.

“Just like C.J. in the box, when he’s manhandled, taken and pulled down; it’s right in front of the referee, and he doesn’t want to call it,” Vermes continued.  “Those things are going to happen, and we’ve got to get on with it. We’ve got to get ready for the next game.”

One thing Vermes did not want to talk about, though, is Sporting’s Designated Player Claudio Bieler, who has barely appeared over the last month and a half, and who didn’t even make the trip to Boston for the game.

When asked about the Bieler situation, Vermes said, “Just tactical reasons.”  Hmmm.

Seems like Vermes has a bit of a DP problem.  This is looking like Omar Bravo part II, which reportedly revolved around a rift between player and coach.  Does Vermes’ hardcore style (and flat top) just wear thin on Latin American players?  Are the expectations unclear?  Something’s not right, I can tell you that much.

So now the series heads back to KCK on Wednesday night, for the final game of this aggregate series.  KC needs to win by two goals to win the series and advance outright.

If the game were to end 1-0 in favor of KC, the teams would then play overtime.

It’s going to be nutty out there at Sporting Park, I can tell you that.

“We’re expecting an unbelievable crowd like we always have,” said Seth Sinovic. “Playoffs make it even that much better for our home crowd. We’re going to have to put on a show for them, and looking to get the result.”

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5 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting KC Dig 2-1 Hole, Return Home Wednesday for Second Playoff Game

  1. the dude says:

    Great. So I will be treated to a boring bunker defense match on NE part and the futility that is Sporting’s offense.
    Ugh.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    So there was a TACTICAL reason that a team that has had big problems scoring goals ever since Kei Kamara went back to England left their goal scoring leader in KC? At least the other overpriced offseason acquisition (Benny Feilhaber) got to watch this game from a comfy seat on the bench.

  3. Bill says:

    If Sporting wins by only one goal whether it is 1-0 or 10-9, they will play overtime. There are no away goal rules in the MLS playoffs.

  4. legendaryhog says:

    Another tough game to watch. Sporting (and their opponents) have played some really disjointed games as of late. The same problem as usual, there is no offense up the middle and every goal-scoring opportunity must be from a crossed ball. Sporting still has no one who can beat an opponent one-on-one, Teal can’t turn the ball, and C.J. has been similarly struggling.

    I’m beginning to feel that Sporting’s playing style is not great for the playoffs. This all-out all the time attitude is great in theory, but there is a lot of “false hustle” involved. I know Vermes believes that Sporting will “out-fit” the other team, but in reality, that doesn’t really happen. The game pace to start the game was so, so fast that it was getting comical at times. Guys just flying around the field with very little direction or purpose. I think Sporting was lucky to get the goal they did. Although they had other chances, there wasn’t really an easy one.

    Too bad away goals don’t count for more as far as a tiebreaker. I see Sporting getting a 1-nil victory as the most likely outcome. Then a 0-0 extra time, and then penalty shots….yuck.

    Lastly, Gillete stadium was really hard to watch that game at. All of the football lines, logos, etc, were so distracting. In contrast, Houston manages to eliminate the football lines whenever the Dynamo play at home. I dunno, maybe the lines at Gillete are permanent because it is a turf field. Either way, really sucked to watch the game, and turf for a playoff game?? Come on MLS. Outlaw turf.

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