The 2023 Sporting Kansas City season has started out less than stellar. The team is 0-1-2 (W-L-D) in their first three games. The good news is that over those first three matches the team has only allowed one goal. That goal came from an error in the very first game of the year in Portland. The bad news is that the team hasn’t scored at all. Zero times. Not even once in three games. So, the question is…Is it time to worry?
The problem has not been a lack of shots. In the Portland Timbers game the team had 12 shots with four on goal. In the second game of the season the team took 16 shots with 11 on goal against the Colorado Rapids and last weekend in the home opener against the LA Galaxy the team took 30 shots (!) with 11 on goal. So clearly getting a shot off has not been the issue and I’d say even getting a shot on goal is looking ok, but that little, tiny, but pretty important aspect of getting it past the defenders and/or keeper has been a problem.
There are clearly reasons that finishing could be an issue, but I don’t think that we can say that the team lacks goal scoring ability. Willy Agada scored eight times in 12 matches last season. Daniel Salloi has been the team Golden Boot winner and a league MVP candidate in the past few seasons. With the exception of Khiry Shelton filling in for Johnny Russell on the right wing there is clear goal scoring talent playing right now.
However, that lack of Johnny Russell and what he is able to do is definitely something that is missed by the team. That includes his goal scoring, his passing, his crossing, his ability to draw defenders to him and therefore away from other goal scorers, his leadership, his attitude. The list goes on and on. Missing Johnny is a big issue, but hopefully he will be returning in the next few weeks.
Then there is the lack of Alan Pulido, but I don’t particularly count his absence as we haven’t really been able to count on his consistent goal scoring since he’s been here. If he plays will the team be better? 1000% but when will he play and when he does will he be back at the quality we expect to see? And how long can he go without another injury?
It was also mentioned on Twitter (you can follow me @sfulk13) by Brett Myers that the weather conditions in all three matches have not been great. The Portland game was postponed due to weather and then was played in cold rain. The Colorado game was very cold and this last weekend in Kansas City it was cold and damp as well. All of those conditions would make it difficult to play and get quality shots off, but again they have been able to get shots they just go right to the keeper or not in the net or into the legs of a defender. Could that be because of the weather? I suppose so, but weather is an uncontrollable factor in many games throughout the whole season. That is something they can’t use as an excuse and just have to figure out.
So I don’t know. If you know anything about me through my writing over the last few years you know that I am an eternal optimist. My gut tells me not to worry yet. We are only three games into the season, and it is an incredibly long season. We have a couple of key players that seem to be so close to coming back. But then there are the what ifs. What if Russel’s injury is longer term than we thought? What if we get a 2019 version of Daniel Salloi? What if Willy Agada’s goal scoring was just beginner’s luck? Right now, I refuse to even entertain any of those thoughts, but at what point do we worry?
What do you think? Are you worried or is this slump just beginning of the season rust? Let us know in the poll and/or in the comment section.
Are you worried about the team’s lack of goal scoring?
Yes! How could I not be?!
Kind of. Three games with no goals is concerning!
Not really. I think that they will shake off the rust.
Not at all! They will be fine!
If you can’t see the poll, here is a Twitter version.
Are you worried about Sporting KC and the lack of goal scoring?— Stacy Fulk (@Sfulk13) March 15, 2023