Well, I was going to say that was a nice surprise, but I’m not sure I’m all that surprised. The narrative seemed to be a standard brick object-unstoppable unmovable thing in that the Portland Timbers score a lot of goals and Sporting Kansas City... doesn’t let teams score a lot of goals. I think we saw a lot from the team that we saw when they took on Toronto, except everything was just a bit better. Perhaps a bit of added fitness, a bit more chemistry, a bit more Tim Melia, but whatever it was, Sporting won, and once more, their lights out defending and high tempo play get much of the kudos.
The return of Benny Feilhaber was quite welcome, as he notched 82 minutes and a second assist, looking dangerous pulling the strings in the midfield. Ilie Sanchez has also emerged as a key player in the midfield. Against Portland, he had a team high 80 touches and a team high passing completion rate of 88%.
High marks for the defense as well, not just the back four, but across the board. Sporting recorded 24 total tackles, compared to Portland’s 14. The high press, high tempo game plan paid off as Portland were frustrated all night.
All in all it was a good performance from what some could call a statement game. Sporting remain undefeated and have given up just two goals. The other undefeated team, FC Dallas, have allowed only three, so next weeks match should be a good defensive grind. For context (well, on the extreme side, at least), thus far this season, Minnesota United have allowed 24.
That said, lets go to the rate-o-matic and see how some player numbers shake out.
SKC v PTFC Player Ratings
|Sporting Kansas City||Rating|
Though not mentioned above, Jimmy Medranda had a helluva game. Five tackles, three interceptions, a pretty slick assist. Hard to argue with that. Or is it?
Next up : Dallas. With a road win already in their belt it already feels like some pressure may be off, but I anticipate that with Dom Dwyer starting to roll and the engine starting to fire, Peter Vermes and co may not be content to park the bus and play for a point. Also, it’ll be nice to play them in Dallas in April and have them come to us in August, and not the other way around.