Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sporting KC Drops Final Home Game, Finishes 5th

Sporting KC can finally close the books on a very challenging and disappointing regular season. With their 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, they finish the 2014 campaign in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. It's their lowest finish since 2009, when they finished sixth on 33 points.

I know a lot of people are ragging on the team for not being sharp in their performances recently. What I would like to say to them is I'd like to see you do better under the same conditions. With as many injuries and matches as they've had to deal with over the last two seasons, it can't be easy.

I'm sure some of you are saying I should stop making excuses for the team's performance. I like to think of it as explanations more than excuses. Could they have done better? Sure. Did they? No, and here's why.

This team's had to deal with more injuries than I've seen from many teams in a very long time. Losing Chance Myers and Ike Opara to season-ending injuries, Peterson Joseph to a career-ending injury, and Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to a combination of injuries and national team duty isn't easy for anybody. Add to that the fact the team had a huge target on its back for being the defending league champions and it's a custom-made explanation for why the team didn't finish higher than they did.

To their credit, the players in the locker room are saying they are fine and they'll be ready to go on Thursday when they play the Red Bulls again in the play-in game, this time at Red Bull Arena. When told Peter Vermes was saying the guys were tired and that's why they didn't play as well as they could have, team captain Matt Besler put it down to the coach defending his players. Besler isn't satisfied and doesn't think his teammates should be either.

Either way, the club looks like they're exhausted. Guys having to play 90 minutes in unfamiliar positions because they simply have no other options seems to be the standard operating procedure for this club lately. You won't hear the guys complain about it. They'll put a brave face on it and tell you they're fine, but there's no other way to say it.

They're pooped. But as I heard one player say tonight, they could have gotten a couple extra days rest with a win and they didn't get it done.

Here's hoping they can make another run at a title. The road will just be a much harder one than 2013. And they know that.

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