A month ago, The Blue Testament compared Sporting Kansas City’s start in 2019 to the the Seattle Sounders slow starts from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Sure, Sporting KC was starting bad, but Seattle turned it around, so why couldn’t Sporting?
Well it’s been five games since that story and things haven’t gotten (much) better (though to be fair, Seattle was still bad at this point in all three of the prior seasons). Sporting KC have gone 1-2-2 over that five game stretch and it’s time to ask ourselves if KC isn’t like those Seattle teams but instead is like Toronto FC’s teams from 2018, which never really got going.
With Sporting KC headed to Toronto on Friday, what better time to make this comparison and revisit our Sounders comparisons.
Toronto’s 2018 Season
Record through 14 Games: 4-7-3 (15 points)
Final Standings: 10-18-6 (36 points)
Final Position: 9th Place in the East
Sporting KC’s 2019 Season
Record through 14 Games: 3-5-6 (15 points)
Final Standings: TBD
Final Position: TBD
As you can see, both teams were at identical positions through 14 games. While they got there in different ways (Toronto had more wins which is the first tiebreaker), they both sat on 15 points with a bit over a third of the season gone.
Don’t lose hope, Seattle were still doing pretty bad at this point in the last three years. Honestly, they continued to do bad much later. The Sounder’s quickest turnaround didn’t start until July 4th (2017 & 2018). The MLS seasons is more compressed this year, so SKC will probably need some results from this four game road swing in June before they return home for back-to-back home games to start July. And not just results, but a win or two.
In the piece about Seattle, the main similarities between SKC and Seattle were that they were both decimated with injuries. That was also true of Toronto last year. Another similarity is that a deep run in the Champions League in 2018 likely hurt Toronto much as it’s hurting Sporting today.
The big difference will be determined if SKC ever get healthy. Toronto never fully recovered while Seattle clearly did.
At the end of April TBT asked you how many points Sporting KC needed in their six game stretch that include five home games. 81% of you voted for a number 10 points or higher. SKC earned just six points. In the poll that was “the season is slipping away” response. June will go a long way towards ensuring SKC still have a chance to make a run as the year presses on. With single elimination playoffs being implemented in 2019, getting in while you are hot is all a team may need.