The Galaxy finally got a win at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday night after scoring two goals in frustrating fashion. Sporting Kansas City had broken the winless streak three days prior and they had plenty of chances to get a result out of this one as well. It was reminiscent of the SKC in years’ past as they dominated the stat line in possession, shots, and corner kicks but it was that final touch that was missing.
Here are my observations from this match:
The three midfielders work well together
First of all, the acquisition of Benny Feilhaber has proven to be a great move. As Matt Lawrence noted during the broadcast, it feels like he never left. I really like the way he is meshing with Felipe Gutierrez & Ilie Sanchez. As Thad mentioned in the podcast they are really fluid and able to switch things around the fly. Sporting were really efficiently moving the ball up the field and controlling play against LA, as the 65% possession makes quite clear. They were playing some quick, clever passes that show they are on the same page and having some fun as well.
By the way Felipe was perfect in the first half and finished with 97% passing (57/59).
These guys are beaten up. They’re tired. And it showed.
You could see a lot of heavy legs for the home side while they were up against a well rested Los Angeles Galaxy and a hungry Zlatan Ibrahimovic. SKC were on their heels and slow to react at times on defense. Matt Besler will be quite disappointed in himself on the first goal. Although that one can partially be blamed on him having just entered the match.
Yohan Croizet had a great game against Seattle but it was clear he had not fully recovered. His first touch really let him down in some big moments. Also, Gutierrez failed to convert a few chances that would have been goals with fresh legs as well.
Vermes was really quite annoyed in the post-game presser and he’s just so tired of all of this piling up. The injuries, the lack of rest, the Nemeth suspension, and the looming international duty are weighing on us all. Can’t Thanos just snap us ahead a few weeks or something?
Barath played well
The plan was for Botond Barath to play the full 90 minutes with Besler replacing Andreu Fontas at the half. But the Hungarian had to be removed with tightness in his leg forcing Vermes to switch around a couple different substitutions he wanted to do.
He was also coming off a hard-fought 90 minutes and short rest, but Barath was up the challenge of dealing with Zlatan. He had a few really nice interventions did well to keep the big man in check. At one point Zlatan was called for offside on a cross, but Barath was able to get in front of him and head the ball clear anyway.
It’s a beautiful thing to be this confident of your third center back in Major League Soccer.
Seth Sinovic is a Kansas City Treasure
His legend is well documented. The man is loyal. He’s hard working. He’s one of us!
Seth embodies everything Peter Vermes wants from his players and he’s the kind of player Kansas City loves from their sports stars. There was one moment from Wednesday night that really shows what he’s all about.
This was just after the first goal and a huge play that kept them within striking distance, for at least a little longer. He made the run from his left-back position all the way to his far post and really took one for the team. He had to know Zlatan was going to punish him right there. But Sinovic got there first and even earned a foul on the play.
He is a really quiet guy who is rarely in the headlines so I wanted to make sure this didn’t go unnoticed.
Capitalizing on chances
This match simply came down to finishing. Sporting really did look solid for much of the night, everywhere except in the box. The Galaxy had exactly half the number of shots as SKC (18-9), but they capitalized on mistakes and put the ball home when it mattered. Fabio Alvarez caught Besler sleeping and put his team in front. Then Zlatan scored on a error that probably kept Tim Melia from getting a good night’s sleep.
Kelyn Rowe had an assist the previous match and did have a couple good moments in this one, but Sporting KC simply needed more from him. He had a golden opportunity on the rebound from a Gutierrez miss but it was terribly mishit and the ball dribbled wide of an open net.
Fatigue definitely played a role in Sporting’s finishing problems, but they were desperately missing a true goal scorer on the field (looking at you MLS DisCo). You can imagine how difficult it must have been for Krisztian Nemeth to watch all those chances be wasted and he wasn’t hiding his frustration after that match. He is sure to be fired up and ready to some damage on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.