Sporting Kansas City lost again. Just when we all thought that they were out of the woods. KC came out and completely dominated Orlando City in the previous match week, out-shooting Kaka’s toothless Lions 34-7. They came away with a 2-1 win, only surrendering on an own goal.
But then again, that performance wasn’t really surprising. Sporting Kansas City have been dominating possession and shooting pretty much all year. That was never the problem. The problem has been surrendering on the counter, which we saw yet again against Real Salt Lake.
Sporting Kansas City control more possession than 17 other MLS teams. It’s just what they do. They have a possessive midfield that knows how to control the flow of the game and create enough chances that they should be winning the majority of their games. They shoot more than 16 other MLS teams as well.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kansas City is also surrendering the least amount of shots to the opposition. Just 10.1 shots surrendered per game.
There’s just something missing and we think we’re onto something. It’s not the poor shot accuracy. KC gets off 14.1 shots per match and only 4.1 are on target.
It’s the inability to stop the counter attack and mop up after themselves. Those missed chances, those poor shots, they end up going the other way for cookie-cutter chances for the opposition. And with only the one defensive midfielder, it has proven too much to stop.
Let’s look at their recent matches.
The first that stands out is the game against Supporter’s Shield leading Colorado Rapids. The one back in April at Children’s Mercy. Kansas City controlled nearly 70% of possession but Colorado was able to squeak out a 2-1 win on two fast break counters.
Against the Houston Dynamo is was more of the same. Kansas City yet again out-shot their opponents and controlled 67% of possession. But it wasn’t good enough. They fell 2-0.
Real Salt Lake was struggling mightily lately. They hadn’t scored a goal in two matches, both being 1-0 losses to Colorado and Houston. Yet, go into Kansas City and everything looks easy. You can guess how the shots and possession looked. 60/40 possession in KC’s favor and 16/6 shots in KC’s favor. But Salt Lake, the bitter rival, was able to score on two of their six shots (one was an own goal) while Sporting could only put away one.
It’s just a matter of putting themselves in bad situations and being unable to cover for their mistakes. Every team out there is going to make mistakes but Sporting KC is showing an inability to respond positively. It’s just sloppiness.