"Joy wouldn't feel so good if it wasn't for pain" - "Many Men" - 50 Cent
Yes, I am fully aware that the rapper 50 Cent was not the first to utter those brilliant words, but that just so happens to be the usage that resonates with my generation. That said, Sporting Kansas City fans have to have a lot of joy coming to them really soon, and it is going to feel grrr-eat. Following yet another heartbreaking loss on Saturday night against Seattle Sounders, Sporting KC fans find themselves once again wondering just how their team managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a positive result.
As The Daily Wiz author SombraAla so eloquently put things earlier this morning, this was not just another average, run-of-the-mill, 1-nil loss. It was nothing close to that. It was, by my estimation, the best full-game performance, yet still came crashing back down to Earth with the exact same thud of a losing result as the last four league games. Quite simply, it's getting old. It was, without a doubt, the toughest loss of the season for Sporting.
My question to you, though, is this: which is the next worst?
There's no lack for options, of course. A 1-6-1 record offers a handful of choices. It's Monday, you've all just suffered through another loss on the weekend. We can take one day to commiserate and feeling sorry for ourselves. Join with me. Including: Poll inside, so be sure to make the jump and vote.
Option A: Chicago Fire 3-2 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: 300 loyal Sporting fans made the 10-hour drive to Chicago the night before the game, only to see their side, coming off of a win in the season opener, fall hard on the road against a team that's just not very good themselves. Omar Bravo was unjustly sent off half an hour into the game, yet the team fought a man down and got to within a goal on two occasions in the second half, but just couldn't manage to get over the hump.
Option B: Vancouver Whitecaps 3-3 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: You may be looking at the above scoreline and saying to yourself, "that's not a loss," but let me tell you what - with the way that game went down, it sure felt more like a loss than it did a draw. It didn't register that Sporting actually picked up a point in that game (their last point to date, by the way - April 2; it is now May 23). A 3-0 lead turns into 3-1 mid-way through the second half, then in the blink of an eye, becomes 3-2 and 3-3 all in a matter of 64 seconds. 6 points sure would look a lot better than 4, now wouldn't it?
Option C: Columbus Crew 1-0 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: To that point of the season, it was undoubtedly the best defensive performance anyone had seen from Sporting. And, it was all for naught, thanks to one brief moment of ineptness. They managed to keep the Crew off the scoresheet for all of 52 minutes, though chances were aplenty for the Crew players. Hey, I said it was the best so far. That doesn't mean it was necessarily good; just that the rest were awful.
Option D: New England Revolution 3-2 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: After taking a 2-1 lead 69 minutes into the game, relinquishing the lead three minutes later and ultimately the draw as well after another ten minutes, Sporting had blown another one. And, the kicker this time: they were screwed by the refs, and the league admitted as much when they rescinded a red card suspension for debutant defender Aurelien Collin, who was having a huge impact on the shaky defense to start the season. The winner, of course, came after Collin was mistakenly sent off for an infraction by midfielder Birahim Diop.
Option E: New York Red Bulls 1-0 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: Recurring theme here - the best all-around performance of the season, all nullified by one brief moment of misfortune. Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers was offside on the game's only goal and the assistant referee was five yards out of position to see it. Them's just the breaks when things are going like this, I guess. By far the best team Sporting had played to that point, they played them extremely well and likely deserved a point for their performance.
Option F: Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 Sporting KC
Why it hurt: It was just embarrassing. The first time all season that you could really argue Sporting were just flat out-played, and the scoreline shows it. It's one thing to lose a close game, but to be made to look a fool the way Landon Donovan did the Sporting defense is a completely different can of worms. On the bright side, Sporting did hold a 1-0 lead in this game at some point in a parallel universe. No, really, they did. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez did score that goal, though.
Okay, there you have it: every heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, ball-kicking loss (and draw which felt like a loss) laid out, and many painful memories relived. Have your say. Vote in the poll, comment below, discuss, self-pity, anything. But, whatever you do, this is Monday - leave it all here.