Thoughts about Friday's Sporting KC loss to DC United are reflective of only those neurons firing in my own head. The 19,118 fans at Children's Mercy Park may, or may not agree with me.
Mother Nature had her hand in this match in more ways than one. First, because of the weather in the Kansas City metro area on Thursday, DC United was unable to fly in, spending the night in Chicago. Since DC was unable to fly out of Chicago until early Friday afternoon, the clubs agreed to delay the match until 8:30 instead of the original 6:00.
After the whistle was blown to end the first half, Mother Nature decided to pop Kansas City again, with torrential rain and frequent lightning. The beginning of the second half was delayed approximately an hour. The full-time whistle wasn't blown until almost 11:30, more than five hours after the original start time.
As Peter Vermes said in the post-game press conference, the weather delays were not an excuse as both teams had to deal with them. It's nice to get some honesty, but Vermes has never been one to make excuses.
Another source of some honesty after the match was midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting's captain for Friday's match. In the locker room, Nagamura said that it was obviously frustrating and the club's just not good enough right now. I honestly don't think very many people would disagree with him right now.
The thing is, they're really not playing that badly. In fact, Friday's performance was a better than last week's against Real Salt Lake. They seemed to have quite a bit of the possession and, other than the one glaring example of Kamara's goal, DC didn't really have that much of an attack. The problem is that one exception to the rule. The thing Vermes has been stressing in his postgame press conferences of late is the giving away of soft goals. He says that while the lack of finishing is something they need to address, the defensive mistakes are what's killing the team. Allowing soft goals means you're dropping points, something Sporting KC has been doing a lot of lately, especially at home.
According to a tweet from Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst), so far this season, Sporting has dropped 14 points at home (a draw and four losses). The six teams above them in the Western Conference (Colorado, Dallas, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose and Real Salt Lake), have dropped 17 point at home combined.
There was at least one positive thing about this match tonight. After the weather delay, there was no standing water on the pitch. None. Considering the amount of water that got dumped on that field, that's simply amazing. Even as the rain picked back up after the match resumed, the only puddles were the ones on the concrete walkway around the grass.
After Thursday's match away to the Galaxy, they have 13 days off until their next match (a road match to begin the defense of their US Open Cup title. That would be a perfect time to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed, considering the club has already almost reached the halfway point of the season.
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