After watching it live from my phone and rewatching it on the computer, here are a few observations.
Referee – Robert Sibiga points to the spot an average of once every 4.375 games and had only called for 4 in the 25 previous matches he called this year. Sunday he tried to raise the average in Dallas with three calls. The good thing is the calls were not extremely controversial. Yes, Matt Hedges may have backed into and tripped over Ilie Sanchez as much or even more than being pulled down but Ilie had his arms around him and made it easy to call. Both calls against Dallas were also easy and not controversial at all. Overall not a lot of referee drama which is a relief for everyone, especially Peter Vermes’ wallet.
Speaking of Penalties – Rare enough to get three penalties in one game but to have two of them blocked is not common at all. Jesse Gonzalez blocked Ilie’s attempt in the first half and Tim Melia stopped Reto Ziegler’s attempt in the second. Johnny Russell’s attempt found the back of the net to put the game out of reach for Dallas.
Speaking of Penalties (Part 2) - Ilie Sanchez has been Sporting KC’s DP (designated PK taker) having taken all of them this year before Sunday. Ilie is so calm, composed and talented he should be great at PK’s. But he’s not. After Ilie shot it too close to Gonzalez and it was blocked, Russell took the next attempt in the second half. Maybe that was so he could keep pace with Daniel Salloi for regular season goals or they just wanted to not put that pressure on Ilie again. Either way, perhaps PK’s should go to someone else for a while.
Tim Melia – What can we say about the best goalkeeper in the league? Another saved penalty, another shutout, highest rated player for the match in both WhoScored.com and the Audi Index ratings. That was his third penalty saved this year on top of three last year.
Daniel Salloi - Confidence is back. The young Homegrown international went through a dry spell after coming back from a call to the Hungarian senior team and seemed to struggle a bit. Two goals mid-week and one right before half in Dallas gives him two game winning goals in a row.
DEPTH! – Attacking depth is unreal for Perter Vermes and Sporting Kansas City. On the bench, Diego Rubio, Gerso Ferandes, Krisztian Nemeth and Gianluca Busio were all ready to come in and make a difference. With Yohan Croizet not in the 18 with an (hopefully minor) injury after such a great performance at Vancouver, there are lot of options for Vermes.
Khiry Shelton – Sporting KC wins with Shelton on the field. We can argue about his scoring ability but again, Sporting KC wins more with Shelton on the field. He will not always show up in stats but the team has better results with him on the field.
Vermes regarding Shelton’s performance - “He was a difference maker tonight.”
Standings – This is one of the best weeks for results in a long time. Sporting KC went in to the last three matches with the toughest schedule and won two on the road, sit on top of the Western Conference and only need a draw (probably) versus LAFC to stay in first place.