Well, it happened again. At this point I think it’s fair to call it a curse.
Since the Seattle Sounders joined MLS, they’ve beaten KC 7 times. Five of those wins have come via a second half, stoppage time, game winning goal.
Kind of unbelievable, really.
“It seems to happen for us a lot against them,” remarked Sounders main man Sigi Schmid after the last second garbage goal locked up a 1-0 win for his squad. “It’s what Peter Vermes said to me after the game, ‘You guys do this to us every time.'”
Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi was more than willing to step up and take the blame for the late lapse, though honestly there was blame to spread among a handful of players.
“To be honest, a stupid play by me,” said Zusi. “There’s no need for me to try to split the D there and play a square ball in their half. That ball should be 20 rows into the stands. Just not a smart play by me.”
Adding to the mess were defenders Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin, along with new starting keeper Eric Kronberg.
“It was a cross into the six,” explained Kronberg, “So Besler’s right in front of me and I figured if he’s going to win it, he’ll hit it out so I went for it too and unluckily he kind of beat me to it and hit it straight up in the air.”
That explanation makes little sense to me. If Kronberg thinks Besler is going to win the ball, why also go for the punch? Obviously, if a keeper knows he can get to the ball, then the decision is made for itself – you go for it. But otherwise you have to make a judgment call. And Kronberg’s judgment let him down on this one.
To make matters worse, Sporting had competed nobly all day with a less than full strength squad, so getting out of town with one point for the draw would have been huge. Vermes used multiple players that are not #1 at their positions due to KC’s extremely busy start to the season. Remember, the boys in blue host Mexican power Cruz Azul this Wednesday, and Sporting have made it known that they are placing a high level of importance on the CCL this year.
So, Kevin Ellis and Josh Gardner got the nod in the back; Lawrence Olum occupied Uri’s normal defensive mid spot; and Jacob Peterson was up top in place of DP Claudio Bieler.
This is the reality that KC faces this season. Their depth is going to get tested mightily.
“We have five games in 15 days so we have to be able to use everybody at this time to get us something in all these games from a physical perspective,” explained Vermes. “We’re trying to make sure we’re rotating our roster around.”