Sporting Kansas City continued a troubling trend tonight as they absolutely dominated play against the LA Galaxy, but were again unable to get the win. They dominated in almost every category and played part of the match with a man advantage, but the night ended with a disappointing final score of 1-1.
Peter Vermes started a lineup that was very hard to read. With the team struggling a bit at the moment, he switched several things around in order to put a veteran heavy lineup on the field. The formation was unclear, but all three of his CB's started together. Zusi was moved back to the midfield but appeared to be playing right-back for much of the match. It looked like PV's tweaks were working, but one quick counter attack just before half was enough for LA to secure a point.
The defining moment of the match would come in the 42' minute. KC had guys forward and they were threatening the goal, but Gyasi Zardes won the ball looking to counter quickly. He beat two men in the center circle and then played a beautiful long ball to Giovanni Dos Santos who was bounding forward. The Mexican international took the ball into the box and calmly chipped the ball over Tim Melia for the classiest of equalizers. In the blink of an eye, and very much against the run of play, the Galaxy were level with their first shot on goal.
Sporting KC dominated the match right from the start. They were on the front foot and asking plenty of questions of the Galaxy defense. The crazy, shifting formation of Vermes' men had nullified all of Bruce Arena's scouting and preparation. Dom Dwyer got into dangerous spots several times in the first 20' minutes but could not find the breakthrough.
The home side continued to dominate the game in every statistical category, and they were finally rewarded in the 30' minute. The ball came to Graham Zusi who directed a perfect header for Brad Davis on the right side of the box. Davis was then able to cut the ball onto his patented left foot and send a beautiful curling shot passed the keeper into the side netting. His first goal on the season came in the same fashion, but this second effort was even more impressive.
Sporting KC continued to push the game after Los Angeles tied it up and they were very hungry to take a lead into the break. Just a few moments after play resumed, Benny Feilhaber beat a couple guys and fired a shot from the top of the box. The shot was just barely wide, but last year's team MVP really should have put the ball on frame.
When the first half was finally done SKC had over 60% possession and ten shots to LA's two. They had four corner kicks without conceding a single one. The defense held a lethal Galaxy attack to that one measly counter attack, but they went into the break tied at 1-1.
In the second half, KC picked up right where they left off. They continued to dominate possession and create chances. In the 70' minute they were given another advantage when Ashley Cole was shown two yellow cards in a matter of seconds. He was sent off and for the second game in a row, Sporting KC was playing a man up.
In the 82' minute, Justin Mapp was subbed on for Jimmy Medranda and his first appearance as a Sporting Kansas City player. Medranda had played a fantastic match up to that point, but Vermes wanted to freshen up the attack in order to find a winner.
The Galaxy of course were in complete bunker mode the final 20 minutes. Sporting patiently moved the ball around the attacking half as the game drew to a close. The chances piled up but the winner would never come for the home side.
Peter Vermes was bold in finally deploying a different formation, whatever the hell that formation may have been. And really, it feels like it worked. They were fantastic in limiting chances for the lethal attack of the Galaxy. They managed 17 shots and 66% possession. There is plenty for Vermes to build upon, but another draw here is quite disappointing.
It was another match where Sporting Kansas City had plenty of positives to take away, but it was the fifth match in a row they were unable to find three points to take away.
KC sits in 6th place in the Western Conference with 14 points and a record of 4-4-2. The next match is on Saturday, May 7th at the Houston Dynamo.