Things didn't exactly look to be in place for a decisive Sporting Kansas City win over the New England Revolution. New England came in on a 9 game undefeated streak with four draws and five wins, and just one loss in their last 10 games, while Sporting couldn't even field a full 18 players. New England had won all three of the teams meetings last season. And when Benny Feilhaber committed a rare turnover in a dangerous area that lead straight to a Juan Agudelo goal in the 11th minute, things looked to be going south quick. But Kansas City turned things around quickly with Dom Dwyer scoring on a chest volley quick turn shot from a wonderful pass from Krisztian Nemeth in the 29th minute.
Sporting were on a roll then, scoring all four of their goals in under 20 minutes, including one just 23 seconds into the start of the second half.
Sporting stay undefeated at home (3 wins, 3 draws) and I'll admit I sort of forgot we haven't lost in KC yet given the number of somewhat frustrating draws we've had. sporting have also yet to lose to an Eastern conference foe (4 wins, 2 draws).
It might be interesting to note that of the 5 times Sporting has conceded the first goal, they've come back to win twice and come back to draw once, losing only twice. Sporting have never been shut out in 2015 when conceding the first goal.
Of course on the other side, Sporting have never lost when scoring first, with 2 wins and 2 draws, so that's not to say they play better when down a goal. But it feels like the 2015 incarnation of this team has done a good job at clawing their way back into games.
Another interesting thing is the fact that Sporting currently are tied with FC Dallas for the second best offence in the league, if you measure that by goals scored per game. Sporting are scoring 1.55 goals per game.
Conversely, Sporting have allowed 1.36 goals per game, which is 16th in the league, tied with Real Salt Lake. Only Montreal, Toronto, and Philadelphia have worse defensive numbers.
But enough fun facts, let's look at some player ratings.
|New England Revolution|
|Sporting Kansas City|
So there you have it. Man of the match to Nemeth, who's looking to be a great partner with Dom Dwyer. Combined with the midfield combo of Feilhaber (who I think has to be an early MVP favorite at this point) and a healthy Graham Zusi and maybe it's no surprise Sporting have become proficient at scoring goals, even if their shooting accuracy leaves something to be desired. That's a scary thought, actually... if Sporting were able to convert more shots into shots on target and goals, they'd be a team that I think could menace just about anyone.
Oh and hey, did anyone else thing Heaps got ejected after the (admittedly really soft) PK award to Kansas City? Looked to me like he got escorted off the field, but I think it turns out he just needed to yell a few things in private... I can't imagine being the official stuck between Vermes and Heaps last night. I'd need several pairs of earplugs.