ANALYSIS – Sporting Kansas City dropped its second road game of the season on Saturday night, falling to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Here are my three key takeaways from the match.
Three Takeaways From Sporting KC Colorado
1. Diego Rubio Should Not Have Been That Wide Open
If I’m being honest, Diego Rubio’s goal in the 21st minute of Saturday’s match could have been prevented. The fact that Andreu Fontas made a half-hearted attempt to play the ball instead of trying to stick with Rubio meant that he got caught in between. At least, that’s how it looked to me. Take a look for yourself and see what I mean.
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) March 13, 2022
2. Injuries Forced Vermes to Start Two Newcomers
If there’s one thing Sporting KC has had to deal with this season more than anything else, it’s the injury bug. The club started the season with DPs Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda both having had knee surgery. Pulido is out for the season, but Kinda expects to return, but it’s unclear as to when.
Injuries continue to pile up. Midfielder Oriol “Uri” Rosell picked up a hamstring injury in the season-opening loss to Atlanta. Forwards Daniel Salloi and Khiry Shelton picked up knocks before Saturday’s match and midfielder Felipe Hernandez subbed off in the first half.
It’s the injuries to Salloi and Shelton that forced manager Peter Vermes to give starts to Cypriot winger Marinos Tzionis and Montenegrin striker Nikola Vujnovic. Tzionis substituted on in both of Sporting KC’s first two matches, but Vujnovic didn’t have that luxury. Signed on loan on February 15th, Vujnovic arrived this past week, due to difficulties in acquiring his P1 visa.
The lack of time on the practice pitch showed in the difficulties the two had in connecting on the field. They seemed to grow into the match, finally creating some chances in the last 10-15 minutes of the first half.
3. Offense Continues to Struggle
Through three matches, Sporting KC has tallied two goals. Injuries play a large part in that, as do new players having to acclimate themselves to the way Vermes expects them to play. Vermes frequently says the offense is the last piece to come together. Injuries and new players joining the team after missing the entire preseason and first two matches certainly don’t help the team chemistry.
However, this team certainly has the talent to be able to score goals. Salloi and Johnny Russell combined for 32 goals and 15 assists in 2021. The club returned seven other players who scored at least one goal. Graham Zusi chipped in five assists from his right-back spot last season.
The key is cutting down on the mistakes that lead to giving up goals. The win against Houston was the club’s first 1-0 win since October 2020. Sometimes, the defense needs to pick up the offense, and vice versa.
The Last Word
Those are my takeaways from Sporting KC’s loss to Colorado. The club will need to hope things can improve at least somewhat before they travel to Chicago to take on the Fire Saturday, the 19th. The match kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and will air locally on KMCI-TV and will be available to stream on SportingKC.com, the Sporting KC app, and ESPN+.
Photo Credit: Mark Shaiken, Last Word on Soccer.