Saturday, June 23, 2018

Three Thoughts From Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-2 on Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park. 20,081 fans saw the club overcome a 2-0 halftime deficit for the win that put Sporting in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference. Thoughts inspired by the victory...


I think it would be fair to say one of the most relieved players on the field at the end of the match was probably Ike Opara. One of his first half mistakes led directly to Houston's first goal.

Now, Ike wasn't the only player that didn't play well in the opening 45 minutes. When asked in the post-game press conference whether he was surprised by the performance. He said he was more angry than anything else, and I can't say that I blame him. It was probably one of the worst performances of the season in a half, but they battled through it.

When he was asked when he knew they'd they'd turned a corner for their performance in the second half, Vermes said after he got done talking at halftime. Peter knows what to say and when to get these guys to do what needs to be done.


With Khiry Shelton's goal in the 88th minute, the club set a new team record with eight goals off the bench this season. If you include the Open Cup, it's nine across all competitions.

Two things that make that number scary. The team still has half of the season left. 17 games in, 17 games left and they've already set a new team record for goals from the bench. Peter has been pushing the right buttons to put the right players in the right spots.

The other thing that makes this scary? Felipe Gutierrez hasn't played in almost two months. Jimmy Medranda has been injured. There is serious firepower currently unavailable that will make this team that much more dangerous.


For all the negative things Peter had to say about the club's performance in the first half, they still managed to have a majority of the possession in the first half, winning that battle 57.8 percent to 42.2 percent. In the second half, that margin was increased to 66.2-33.8.

There are a couple of reasons for that increase. While Sporting completed almost exactly the same number of passes in each half (220 in the first half, 223 in the second), their passing accuracy went up from one half to the other. In the first half, Sporting completed 75.9 percent of their passes, but 85.2 percent in the second half. Houston's passing accuracy went down, from 78.0 percent in the first half to 65.8 in the second.


Sporting KC's next home match is July 7th against Toronto. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Three Thoughts From Sporting KC v. Minnesota United FC

Three thoughts from Sporting Kansas City's 4-1 win over Minnesota United FC at Children's Mercy Park in front of 20,422 fans on June 3, 2018.

All thoughts are my own and should not reflect on anybody else in a negative way. Well, except Maximiniano.


Citing a lack of urgency from the club in last week's scoreless draw against Columbus, Peter Vermes called out his club, challenging them to do better and saying the players would "feel it" in training this week.

After the performance the club put in, I honestly believe it wouldn't really have mattered who was in front of them on the pitch today. While Minnesota's record away from home is a dismal 1-6-0, they're still an MLS club and Vermes has never taken an opponent lightly, no matter what anyone else might think.

One indicator of the urgency the team was playing with, especially in the first half, is their Duels Won (%). To put it more simply, the percentage of 50/50 balls they won compared to their opponents. In the first half, Sporting KC's margin in that metric was 68.3-31.7. That domination led to a 64.9-35.1 possession margin.

I'm focusing on the first half if only because the Maximiniano send off skews those numbers, as they should. More on him in a moment.


More evidence of the work the club is putting in to its pro pathway was on display tonight as two former Academy players had impacts with the first team.

Following the early first half injury to Yohan Croizet, Wan Kuzain made his second appearance for the first team in as many games. It didn't take long to make his presence felt. Kuzain got his first goal for the club in the 35th minute. Described by some as the Malaysian Messi, Kuzain's goal played a little pinball on its way to the back of the net.

Jaylin Lindsey made his pro debut for the club just short of the hour mark, due to an injury to defender Seth Sinovic. Normally, Lindsey would be a right back, but Vermes said they were comfortable enough with him to play him on the opposite side of the pitch. Lindsey played well in his thirty minute debut, earning a press conference shout out from his manager.

The goal, according to Vermes, is to someday have an entire starting XI consisting of Sporting KC Academy players. They seem to be on their way.


From the "This is a record you really shouldn't want" Department, Minnesota United FC midfielder Maximiniano seems to be cruising towards shattering one.

What record does he seem to be on course to absolutely shattering? Fewest minutes played to a yellow card accumulation suspension. After subbing into the match at halftime, Maximiniano picked up his first yellow card two minutes and change into his appearance. Fifteen minutes and fifteen seconds later, he picked up his second, earning a red card and an early shower.

According to the fine folks at FiftyFiveOne, that made four yellow cards in only 106 minutes, an average of one card every 26:30 of play. One more and he gets a one match suspension (to go along with the suspension for the red card). I'm not sure what the record is, but I'm sure this guy will shatter it.