Just one week after knocking off the Houston Dynamo on the road, Sporting Kansas City drew with a struggling DC United team at RFK stadium. There were moments where Sporting probably should have won it, but they weren't able to make it happen. The draw, however, gives us a lot of points to talk about going into the week and ahead of the huge match on Sunday with Houston at Sporting Park.
1) Kamara looked lost, but all is not lost.
Kei Kamara has now subbed on in three matches so far for Sporting but yesterday he did not look good at all. I believe I said in one of the comments that he had the awareness of a cucumber. He was not a good setup man for Bieler in the box and missed several opportunities to try and score a goal later in the match. Essentially, Kamara looked lost out there when he subbed into the match in the second half. Now, he has looked decent in the first two matches he subbed in, he just has to get used to having a legitimate finisher in the center that he can set up for goals. A few more matches and I believe we'll see Kamara and Bieler working together like a well-oiled machine.
2) Ike Opara is kind of awesome
While Claudio Bieler is the biggest signing so far for Sporting Kansas City, more props need to be given to the Sporting front office for picking up Ike Opara. Opara has been a phenomenal backup so far, filling in nicely for Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin at different times during the season. Whether it has been as a great line of defense on the back line or getting physical on set pieces. In fact he was a huge part in the own goal yesterday, using his body to get Ethan White into the way of the ball, forcing the goal. Opara has been a great part of Sporting's acquisitions this offseason and has performed excellently this season.
3) Mechack Jerome is not Chance Myers
Now don't get me wrong, Mechack Jerome has been a great substitute for Chance Myers on the back line. His defense has been a plus and he has really been an asset in helping at the fullback position. However it's in the offense where he differs from Chance Myers. Myers will bring the ball up the flank and provide a lot of chances (pun intended) whereas Jerome is more content to stay back. While this doesn't hurt Sporting too much overall, it certainly isn't helping them when they need service into the box and no one is there bringing the ball up.
4) Is Sporting really as good as their reputation?
Let me provide you with an interesting statistic. Against the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, Sporting is 4-0-0 with three of those wins coming on the road. They have shutout three of those teams and hold a +6 goal differential. Against the bottom four teams, Sporting is 1-3-1 with an even goal differential. It simply doesn't make sense that Sporting has been so good against the good teams and subpar against the bottom teams in the standings. Maybe it's because the lesser teams tend to play back and try to salvage a draw whereas the top teams try and attack and Sporting makes them pay. Regardless, Sporting needs to perform better and rack up points against the bottom feeders if they want to contend for the Supporters Shield later in the year.
5) Yes, that was a goal.
In my time as a soccer viewer I have never seen such a blown call as what happened on Sunday. Ike Opara was most certainly onside and should have had a goal without a doubt. Some people have called for some kind of accountability for referees in the past but yesterday's decision really makes a case for it. There should be no reason a professional referee messes up that badly on a call. I'm not even mad that it cost Sporting a win, I'm mad that a professional level referee can mess up that badly. Sporting should have put it away later in the match, but that call really did impact the match in a big way.