The unbeaten run at Children’s Mercy Park was extended to 19 matches, but Peter Vermes’ frustration was clear.
“We should have had three points tonight,” he said bluntly. “We did not step up in that moment when you need to.”
Sporting dominated in every statistical category but were once again unable to put the game away. They were asking questions of the defense the entire match as they sent in set piece after set piece. Union keeper John McCarthy made some fantastic saves, but SKC Nation will leave the park with a bit of a bad taste in their mouths.
Diego Rubio would finally open the scoring a few minutes after halftime. The Chilean received the ball just outside the box and turned to face the goal. The defense failed to close him down and he fired a bullet to the far post. This time, McCarthy had no chance and Sporting KC were in front 1-0.
The lineup may have looked different than we’ve grown used to, but it was the same old Peter Vermes side to open the match. Sporting were eager for an early goal and had won a free kick in a dangerous spot within seconds of the opening whistle.
They were passing the ball around brilliantly in the final third and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. The Union defense was sliced apart multiple times but Sporting couldn’t capitalize.
In the 14’ minute Ilie Sanchez lofted a beautiful ball over the top for Rubio rushing into the box. He did very well to bring it down and set himself up for a shot, but he sent it just over the bar and into the Cauldron. Just minutes later Jimmy Medranda would set up Latif Blessing on a well worked counter attack, but McCarthy was there for his first big save.
Daniel Salloi was very lively on the left wing and had the best chance of the half for Kansas City. In the 28’ minute he fired a knuckle-ball from 25 yards out but McCarthy came up with a Save of the Week nominee to deflect it away.
After going in front it looked like Sporting KC were cruising to victory. The were playing with some swag until in the 66’ minute. Former Sporting man CJ Sapong got the ball in traffic just inside the 18 yard box. He slowed down allowing Feilhaber to run over him. CJ went down and referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot. Madness ensued with shoving and hands on throats, but no amount of politicking would change the verdict. The crowed was behind Tim Melia, who boasts a fantastic PK record this season, but Roland Alberg sent him the other way to level the match at 1-1.
The home side showed plenty of life to close out the match in search for a winner. Gerso came on for Rubio and brought fresh legs to the attack. The chances were there as both Blessing and Salloi had great looks on goal, but they would finally ran out of time.
It was, unfortunately, that same story line once again. Sporting Kansas City dominated but couldn’t take all three points. They finished the evening with 19 shots, 64% possession, and 14 corner kicks.
But just one point.
That point is good enough however to put KC back on top of the Western Conference for the time being. Next up is the US Open Cup Quarterfinals on Tuesday as FC Dallas come to town.