Sporting Kansas City couldn’t find the goal even if they had a map of the penalty area with a big X on it Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Heading into the final few seconds the game was knotted 0-0. But for the second time this season, KC gave up a game winner in second half stoppage time. Except this time, the home New England Revolution scored twice in the final minute and a half after KC had much better chances for the bulk of the game.
Finishing woes seemed to be the special of the day, as a handful of players shanked shots that should have at least been put on target. Perhaps worst of the lot was Benny Feilhaber, skying a prime opportunity from near point blank range over the near post crossbar in the second half. Alex Martinez came on as a sub and looked pretty sharp, but also mishit two. Dom Dwyer was in on the act as well.
So when Aurelien Collin went all Collin with about 15 minutes to go and got a red card, the Revs had the rest of the game to pound on a team that didn’t have any more subs.
Martinez had come on for first-time starter Toni Dovale, who went off due to illness. And then Sal Zizzo pulled a groin and was replaced by Jacob Peterson. So when Collin got the red, KC boss Peter Vermes decided he had to get Lawrence Olum in for some help in the back.
Sporting fended off the attack and almost earned a point on the road.
But in the 92nd minute the Revs broke the 0-0 deadlock when KC castoff Teal Bunbury scored for the first time since August of 2012. The former Sporting first rounder got on the end of a near bar cross after KC keeper Eric Kronberg made a questionable decision and came out a bit soft. Kronberg whiffed on the ball and Teal hit it in the goal off his hip or chest to pretty much seal the deal.
But just to make sure, a minute later Uri got called for a handball in the box, and New England was awarded a PK. Kronberg didn’t even attempt a dive for the spot kick. He leaned slightly to his left, then saw the ball going to his right and kind of just stood up.
If you’re not going to guess, and instead try and read or react to the PK, don’t you at least have to make an effort at it?
I think it’s time to give Andy Gruenebaum a chance. Kronberg has the skills and athleticism, but his decision making has been suspect, and he comes out for far too many balls that he doesn’t get.
All in all, a disappointing result on the road, and another performance where KC plays a better game, but can’t finish. And then there’s also the injury to Zizzo, who has been a nice addition on the flanks thus far. And the uncertainty between the pipes.
“I thought we played very well,” said Vermes afterwards. “I think if you can go into someone else’s place and play the way we did and possess the ball the way we did, I think it’s a good performance.”
The only problem being that there’s a big difference between a “good performance” and earning points.