I don’t know about you, but I never shut off games before they are done. No matter how bad it gets, I sit and watch to the end. Well there are exceptions to every rule.
Last week I traveled to Los Angeles to take in my third road game of the season (Los Angeles Football Club and San Jose Earthquakes being the others). I’m now officially 0-3 on the year and I broke my “watch til the end” rule. At 6-1, I walked out. I didn’t want to be subject to a 15-minute post-game hold for road fans and LA has notoriously bad traffic.
Instead, I just left. And I spent the two hour ride back to San Diego (where I have family and a free place to stay) talking with my wife about what went wrong and where Sporting Kansas City goes from here.
Needless to say, I missed two more goals. Oh, **Spoiler Alert**. Forgot that.
So I decided I should go back and at least watch the 15-minute version of the match-up between Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy. These are available in the MLS app always, but occasionally, for an exceptional game, they’ll put it on YouTube.
I was seated at the end of the field that the Galaxy were going towards and, maybe because of how it all turned out, I felt like SKC were on their back heels the whole night. But from this version, it was very closer than the final score would indicate. Sporting could have easily had three goals in the first 25 minutes. The awkward deflected Felipe Gutierrez shot. The Felipe goal. And Gerso Fernandes’ chance in the 25th minute on the lovely pass from Graham Zusi.
Also, in the early part of the 28th minute Johnny Russell just missed a free kick over the bar. Things seemed pretty promising. That is until the 30th minute Matt Besler hand ball. Then Tim Melia actually saves the Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty kick... until the rebound fell to Ibra.
From there, despite some Melia magic, it never felt close again. There were some sloppy, unlucky goals given up and a multitude of missed chances for SKC.
On the second LA goal, Graham Smith flails wildly for the header and misses. Besler covers his space and Martins (nor anyone else) fills Belser’s vacated space and it’s an easy header for Joe Corona to put away.
The the third LA goal, Besler is way out wide (though Ilie Sanchez) covers for him nicely. But it’s again Smith making the wrong step to allow Zlatan to put home his second of the night. Needless to say, Graham Smith had a bad night and will probably head to the bench (barring injury) for the rest of 2019.
After that, Erik Hurtado gets a half chance at the near post on a Gerso cross and then he gets a golden chance one-on-one with the keeper that he can’t finish. Those would have tied it up at three.
In the 66th minute, Roger Espinoza was subbed off and it all fell apart. Espinoza is far too important to this team and the club really has to find a way to replace him (Felipe Hernandez?).
Before the collapse, Gianluca Busio missed a great opportunity. Missed chances and crappy defense. The story of 2019.
Then the fourth Galaxy goal came. Zusi gets caught up the field and Smith has to pull out wide to cover Cristian Pavon. But the real mistake on this is laziness from Luis Martins. He makes no effort to follow Uriel Antuna who taps in the goal which careens perfectly off the post and in.
From there Hurtado and Gerso would come off for Krisztian Nemeth and Daniel Salloi respectively.
The fifth comes when Besler, who is rightfully worried about Zlatan which opens a space for Sebastian Lletget to drift between him and Martins. Another headed goal.
The sixth is just a sloppy mess. The cross in is poorly cleared by Smith, scuffed by Antuna and awkwardly headed home by Lletget for his second.
The seventh (!) comes from a poor Zusi clearance. Then, instead of tracking back immediately, Zusi allows Zlatan to drift behind him. The ball is sent through and the defense has no chance. Ibra with the hat trick.
To stop the bleeding, SKC finally get their second goal. Gutierrez picks up an assist from Daniel Steres’ face (via deflection) for a beautiful strike from distance to make it 7-2. Steres was the reason for the first Gutierrez goal as well as he chose to awkwardly double team Gerso and leave Guti wide open.
Before it was done, Salloi had a free header from the six-yard box via a Gutierrez cross. Despite being wide open, of course, he gets it saved. Daniel can’t catch a break.
Mercifully, the game finally ended. The season is probably over. It probably has been for a few weeks. But maybe this is just the thing Sporting KC needed to wake up and run the table.
What?! Why are you laughing?
Get the demons out and suffer through the highlights with me. It can’t go worse than this, can it? The Blue Testament will be back tonight with full coverage of the game between Sporting and the Colorado Rapids at home. Get your rain gear ready and head out to Children’s Mercy Park.