Lethargic, uninspired and sloppy. That's the basic summary of Sporting KC's performance last night against Orlando City. Out of all the losses this season this is the one that bothered me most because of how sloppy the team looked. Of course it's sad that Sporting is now out of the cup but the play last night worries me for the rest of the season.
1) Bunbury is back
Sweet number nine returned to the pitch last night, seeing his first match action since August of 2012. He came on in the 76th minute in an effort to score the equalizer that would never come. I was glad to see Bunbury back but was opposed to his going in as the third substitute. Hindsight is always 20/20 but I would've preferred to see Soony Saad come in instead of Bunbury. Saad just got back from playing higher level competition in Lebanon, scored a brace against OCSC last year and, most importantly, has played in matches more recent than last August.
Like I said, I'm very glad that Bunbury is back but I disagree with Vermes' decision to put him in when Sporting's backs were against the wall and he hadn't played since last year.
2) Orlando City is legit
I know, I know, tell you something that you don't know. Orlando City has always impressed me but yesterday they took it to a new level. They were on point last night and played as good a match as they could play. Now they take on the Chicago Fire on June 26th in Chicago with their loaned players in Dom Dwyer, Yann Songo'o, Christian Duke and Jon Kempin eligible to play. Chicago is significantly better with Mike Magee at the top but they are beatable if Orlando plays like they did last night.
I, for one, am rooting for Orlando to win it all now. What a sight that would be to see a non-MLS team win the cup and advance to the CONCACAF Champions League.
3) Lightening the load
Speaking of the CONCACAF Champions League, there is a positive to the early tournament exit for Sporting KC in the fact that their depth won't be tested as much in the coming months. Now they only have to balance two competitions instead of three. Like many of you I would rather have three competitions than a fresher squad but, as they say, when life gives you lemons....
4) Speaking of the CCL Part 2
Qualifying for the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League just became that much harder. Everyone knows that the US Open Cup is the "easiest" route to the CCL since a team only has to win five games. If Sporting wants to continue being a club that is perennially in the CCL they will have to do well in MLS play by winning the Supporters Shield or be one of the teams in the MLS Cup final, something they haven't done since 2004.
5) Is the window closing?
Sporting has not shown that they can win a match without Graham Zusi or Matt Besler when they've been on international duty. They way that those two have been playing with the USMNT there's a good chance that some team may pick them up, especially after next years 2014 World Cup. This team has at least three good chances to win the MLS Cup: 2011, 2012 and this year. This year, however, the rest of the league is catching up and there is more disparity around the league. I probably am just overreacting but the state of this team worries me a bit. If they can't play well together by the end of the season then the ensuing seasons may not be a fun time in Kansas City.