So first and foremost, slow hand clap to Bradley Wright-Phillips for tying the MLS all time scoring record. While, sure, he's getting balls served to his feet on a plate by Thierry Henry, he still has to finish them...Glad I started him on my fantasy team...
The New York Redbulls (New York Red Bull? Red Bull New York? I never know how to stylize them...) started well. Really well. Bradley Write-Phillips with the early goal in the 15th minute was well earned. Sporting's defense looked a bit disjointed for most of the first half. Kronberg handled some early shots okay, but Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler seemingly weren't on the same page, and play through the midfield wasn't great. An early sub of Lawrence Olum didn't help matters.
That's not to say Sporting didn't have some chances. Dom Dwyer almost found the foot of Sal Zizzo late in the half, but almost wasn't good enough.
And then, the second half, and it was Bradley Wright-Phillips again with a second New York goal, bossing Collin off the ball and calming slotting it home. Maybe some fault for colin for not playing it safe, but a lot of credit to BWP. Honestly, Wright-Phillips could have had three. If we were doomed to lose, I sort of wanted to see him do it, honestly... Eric Krongberg did well to deny him though, he had several chances in the second half.
Overall though, Sporting looked better in the second half. just couldn't find any real sort of magic in the final third, as cliche as that sounds.
Second and... secondmost... I've been pretty optimistic that Sporting Kansas City has just been in a bit of a post-World Cup, middle of CONCACAF Champions League, just general blah funk... but our form lately has been just disappointing. And a lot of that is injury. A lot is. There was discussion during this match that this is the first team since Chivas in 2008 that had 30 different starters and still made the playoffs, and that certainly wasn't by design.
And I don't even know what to criticize? Selling Uri? Letting Kei go? Jimmy Nielsen retiring? Not drafting well? Not rotating players? There's probably a lot of places where you could throw blame/darts, but at the end of the day, we simply weren't good enough in the final third of the season to secure a higher playoff spot.
Is that okay? Maybe? Is it okay for fans to expect greatness? I honestly don't know... as a sports fan I generally think, if your team finishes above average, maybe there's not much to complain about, but the bad part about being defending champions is that it comes with... you know... expectations. And expectations were high. And I think still are. The stadium is still mostly packed. The fans are still involved. People are still excited. And there's still playoffs.
But our home record? Ugh... Has there ever been a team so good on the road and so bad at home? Probably, but I'll have to look it up.
So Sporting Kansas City limp into the playoffs. and we'll rematch New York at Red Bull Arena on Thursday.
Ever hopeful, I think Sporting can still make a run in the post-season. Get guys back form injury, find some mojo, play like your backs are against the wall, all that... Be Royal?
Oh god, I just saw the Royals-Giants score in the bottom of the seventh...
Good night. And good luck.