It’s gotten bad. Really bad. Sporting Kansas City, the defensive epicenter of the Western Conference at the beginning of the season, have now gone six matches without a win. In those six matches, they have given up nine goals and only scored four. So while the defense isn’t exactly collapsing, the offense is. And it is centered around their gross inability to create chances.
We’ve been following this for several weeks now, but the theme has stayed the same. An incredibly creative collection of midfielders cannot do what they have always done. On one end, there is a lot of optimism that it can turn around once everyone starts doing what they’ve always done. The problem is that we do not know when that will turn around. In time, surely it will, but how much time do they have in a conference ripe with contenders?
Against the Houston Dynamo, the only team with a worse streak than Sporting Kansas City, the Midwesterners created just eight chances across their front six in the 4-3-3. Soni Mustivar created three of those, the deepest midfielder of them all, who usually doesn’t account for many chances.
Meanwhile, Benny Feilhaber created just one chance. The creative catalyst of this team is not creating much and part of that has to do with the fact that he is pushed wide right, where he is serving as a wide midfielder. Feilhaber’s creative pedigree should be enough to land him a central midfield role, only the formation that SKC run doesn’t exactly allow for it.
It’s not just Feilhaber, though he probably does have the biggest role to play in Sporting Kansas City’s goal generation.
Expanding off of that, Sporting KC has become too reliant on this wide play. Dom Dywer isn’t exactly a big guy and Sporting KC are firing in 19 crosses in per match. only three of those are finding their target. Zusi and Feilhaber have taken the cake in leading the team in crosses as they combine for nearly ten crosses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it isn’t working. The two have just three assists all year and they’re chance creation is down from last year.
Sporting Kansas City cannot wait for this to pan out. Houston can be a shining example that when you shake things up, good things can happen. They made six changes to their starting XI and ended their win-less streak. Vancouver did the same, putting in an offensive masterclass against Portland after shifting things around.
Sporting KC has to make some changes. Either moving some guys around or switching up the formation.