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Three points (or more) on Sporting KC’s win over Toluca in CCL

A few thoughts and observations...

Thad Bell

WOW Part 1: Sporting Kansas City not only won and advanced, they managed to make history while doing so. With the 3-0 win at home and the 2-0 win at Toluca, Sporting Kansas City became the first American team to win a second leg game in Mexico. It was also the largest aggregate win by an MLS team over a LIGA MX team.

WOW Part 2: It wasn’t like Sporting KC just got lucky and made the most of a few chances. Other than a couple chances in each game, SKC owned Toluca. They out-passed, out-possessed, out-shot, out-played Toluca at every turn. Yes, Toluca was demoralized, dejected, demotivated, and seemingly had little to play for but SKC even out ran them at Estadio Nemesio Díez Riega. The altitude seemingly had little effect on the visitors. A team that hasn’t even started league play controlled a team that should be in mid-season form with twice the payroll.

WOW Part 3: What a great start to the year for Gerso. It’s only a couple games but the speedy winger has been dangerous as can be this season. He has shown what SKC saw for a few games the first season and occasionally last year. He has also found a right foot from somewhere and even used that infrequently utilized appendage to score in Mexico. Who knows if it is marriage or impending fatherhood or he found himself or the right alignment of everything together... but it’s working. This Gerso we have seen the last couple games should scare every right back in the league. And a few in Mexico as well.

WOW Part 4: It would have been hard to imagine before this match, but Sporting KC were actually being cheered by the home team fans. Yes, the Toluca fans are very unhappy with their team but they ole’ing SKC’s passes to play keep away from their own players. They were chanting the chant they should not do at their own keeper. They applauded Sporting KC players as they subbed off. Is that another first for an American team playing in Mexico?

Still a little worry: SKC dominated Toluca in both legs but with that said, Toluca had some chances. A couple in Kansas City that should have been better taken and some hard, searching shots that if they had been on goal would have been really dangerous. At Toluca, just two minutes into the match the home side almost scored when a header went straight down off of the crossbar, bounced on the line and deflected away from goal off of Espinoza’s posterior side. It could have easily been a goal and with a little positive in their life Toluca could have made a run on the 3-0 deficit. They didn’t score and they did not rebound but that is not the point. As a fanbase, Kansas City is rightfully on a high but we need to temper that high with some reality. SKC needs to do better defending set pieces, they are still vulnerable to a counter and have yet to play a side that was in form.

Disclaimer out of the way: Alright, I made sure to try and not get my expectations up too high this early but man those games were fun. The passing, the attack, the Toluca fans, the new found respect from MLS “experts”. It almost felt like SKC were drawing Toluca into a high press just so they could pass their way through traffic for fun.