Column: Quantity instead of quality as Sporting KC goal drought continues vs. LA Galaxy
March 19, 2023
Sporting KC hoped for an enjoyable first game at their home stadium since Oct. 2, 2022. Instead, it was a frustrating night at Children’s Mercy Park on March 9.
Going into the game, Sporting showed a strong defense which continued on the night, as they have not conceded a goal in 264 minutes. This didn’t help when the struggles continued up front.
Despite starting the season with zero goals in three games, Kansas City’s coach Peter Vermes wasn’t worried.
“I am incredibly excited about our team based on what those guys did tonight and how they played,” Vermes said.
I know from experience that there are many reasons for a coach to address the positives rather than the negatives after a rough start to the season. You can do it to keep the morale of the group up, you can address the media with the positives to keep a certain image and address the real problems in training, but you can also do it just to save your own skin as a coach.
Sporting’s goalless run ranks as the second-longest in terms of minutes without scoring in the club’s history. The only instance when the club had a worse start was in 1999 when Sporting failed to score until late in the fourth game of the season.
In the home opener, Sporting KC had 30 shots, which is the second most shots in club history without scoring a goal. Statistics are always good but can be misleading. According to FotMob, out of those 30 shots, only 13 came from inside the box, just 11 were on target and 2 came from a big chance. The expected goals for Sporting were 1.36, which is very low considering all their shots.
This proves my point that their shots didn’t come from good enough chances and dangerous areas.
“We weren’t great with the ball by any stretch, so many transitions we had to defend because we lost possession too easily,” said LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney.
This was due to the aggressive and compact Sporting side. Just as Vermes mentioned, he was very proud of his team for controlling the game. I fully understand and agree with him. His players made LA Galaxy look pale with only 0.42 in expected goals.
Sporting KC looked like they could do no wrong defensively. They controlled the game comfortably for over 90 minutes, and I would go as far as saying they dominated it. In two-thirds of the field, they were the better team. In the final third, Sporting lacked creativity which made them take all of those shots in the wrong areas.
“We have so many other players to add back into the team and they are players that bring quality in finishing,” Vermes said. “It’s not that the other guys can’t, we just have so much more to add to the group.”
He continued discussing how his players weren’t happy about the result, because they all felt as if they should have got a goal; but at the same time, they were proud of their performance.
Vermes praised the whole team from the goalkeeper to the front six for their defensive performance in their opening three games.
On March 25, Sporting KC will be back home to host Seattle, view tickets here.