On Saturday night, while Sporting Kansas City was taking an important three points off the Chicago Fire at Children’s Mercy Park, SKC II hit the road to face Indy Eleven. It didn’t go as well, but it was close until very late. Ultimately, they fell 1-0 on a 77th minute goal by Gordon Wild, a former Atlanta United draft pick that took four years to get his first MLS game (with the LA Galaxy in 2020). However, he’s a talent in USL and a key contributor for Indianapolis.
You can tell from the highlights, Sporting KC II didn’t show much. They aren’t in the highlights at all, unless you could playing defense and making saves. They didn’t provide much going forward despite getting off nine shots (though just one was on goal).
Sporting Kansas City Loanees
While the first team was at home, there were some players on loan with the second team. Graham Smith, Kendall McIntosh, Jake Davis, Ozzie Cisneros and Kayden Pierre all started. Only Cisneros, who was playing out of position as a false 9, didn’t go the full 90 among the loanees.
The SKC II starting XI— Sporting KC II (@SportingKCII) September 11, 2021
We field an unchanged lineup from last Saturday's 3-0 win over OKC #INDvSKC // #SportingKC pic.twitter.com/lQDhxj1nVX
The Game Lacked Rhythm
Throughout the night, the referee (who was jacked btw, kudos to his cardio for being able to run all night carrying all that muscle) just kept calling every little ticky-tack foul. It caused the game to utterly lack any sort of rhythm all night. Not until Indy made some impactful subs did a team really start to string together some play (as you can mostly see in the highlights, they come late).
SKC II mostly looked lost in the second half. Back to a point that’s been made on The Blue Testament (primarily by our commenters but a little by myself), the midfield was once again too defensive and there was no link between the midfield and the forwards. At times Ozzie Cisneros, from his false 9 position, would sink into the midfield and create a link. But it didn’t work nearly as good as it did last weekend when they found a way to crush the OKC Energy FC 3-0.
The Goalkeeper Loans Confuse Me
Kendall McIntosh made his 10th start this season for SKC II (of 25 games played by the team). Of all the GKs I expected to lead the team, McIntosh wasn’t the one. I got the chance to talk to him before the season and he seems like a genuinely awesome dude, but I’d rather he sit the bench behind Tim Melia so that the younger keepers (Pulskamp, Thompson) can get valuable minutes.
John Pulskamp is second on the team amongst keepers with nine starts and Brooks Thompson has just four. Gavin Krenecki (who is on an academy contract) has the other two. Remi Prieur hasn’t even appeared (he was injured early in the year).
I’d like to see more games for the ‘kids.’ At least Pulskamp has some MLS minutes, so he’s still played more than McIntosh, but it seems like he and Thompson should play a lot more.
- With the team lacking a creative midfielder (though Cisneros can do this), you may wonder what happened to guys like Bailey Sparks, who filled that roll earlier this year. Well he is now playing collegiately at SMU, so this roster is in need of some creativity in the midfield as Christian Duke and Jake Davis are very similar players. Outside of them, the team is loaded with defensive midfielders like Petar Cuic, Jahon Rad and Jayvin Van Deventer. Cuic, who played some CB in 2020, may be the most creative of them all, but being a deep playmaker seems to better fit his skills.
- Isaiah LeFlore came down to earth. After making the team of the week last week, LeFlore played okay, but he definitely made some mistakes and just didn’t seem as smooth. However, you can still see a ton of potential between him and fellow fullback Pierre, who had a few explosive plays.
- Speaking of fullbacks, and it has nothing to do with this game, but left back Travian Sousa (who seemed so promising before the year) moved from OUT to QUESTIONABLE on the injury report for the first time in 2021. Hopefully a debut is in his future.