Sporting Kansas City, Benny Feilhaber

Sporting Kansas City in a creative slump

Sporting Kansas City are having a bit of an anticlimactic season. Only twice have they scored over one goal in a game. Both times they scored two, they won. Both other wins came from scoring one and the opposing team notching a red card. The point is that Sporting is not blowing the socks off of anyone, which is why they find themselves in sixth place.

When you look at this Kansas City team, the midfield has to stand out. They have so many creative minds running the midfield, from Zusi to Feilhaber to Hallisey. All of these guys have shown a penchant for creating chances for Dom Dwyer, who has shown a penchant for scoring.

It’s just not panning out for the Midwesterners.

The strange thing about Sporting KC is that, taking several stats which I will give you here shortly, it sounds like they have the offensive presence to boss the opposition. Consider these numbers: Sporting KC spends 30% of their time in the opposition third. That’s third best in the league. They control 54% of possession. That’s fourth best in the league.

Yet they fire only 11 shots per game. That’s 15th in the league. In terms of shots per game, none of the teams that round out the bottom ten have a higher percentage of possession and a higher percentage of time spent in the opponents third than Sporting Kansas City. Translation – they don’t shoot enough. They don’t pester the goalie enough.

Who’s shoulders does that fall on?

The first inclination is to say Dom Dwyer, but Dwyer fires three shots a game, that ranks in the top 15 of all MLS players. So while a bit more wouldn’t be terrible, it’s certainly not a serious concern. His four goals are proof of that. It’s still a good amount.

The problem falls on the midfielders. With all of the creative play-makers that Sporting Kansas City has, they create only eight chances per match, ranking in at 16th in the league. Expanding on that, they are create just six short pass chances per game, which is 17th in the league. They are floating in the midst of Vancouver, Seattle and Houston, some of the teams with the most struggles. Meanwhile, at the other end, FC Dallas and Colorado are creating near ten short chances per game.

Dwyer can’t shoot if he doesn’t get good service. No one on Sporting Kansas City is creating more than two chances per game. One of the only other teams to notch that feat are the Vancouver Whitecaps, who just scored their first goal from open play last weekend against FC Dallas.

Sporting KC needs more out of their midfield if they are going to turn this season around. Get the ball to Dwyer, he’ll do the rest.