Sporting focused on positives despite giving up lead
On the one hand, Sporting Kansas City’s 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Saturday snapped what had been a three-match losing streak for the club. On the other hand, it was the second time in as many matches that Sporting had given up a lead in the second half, and KC are still winless in their last four games.
For his part, though, head coach Peter Vermes is inclined to take the more “glass-half-full” look at the night.
“It was a good result for us on the road,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “We’re getting out of here with one point. We wanted to get out of here with three, but this was still a good result for us.”
Despite the disappointment of the draw, there were plenty of positives for Sporting – now 7-3-1 on the season – to take out of the match. Perhaps the most obvious was the play of striker Teal Bunbury
Making his first start since Sporting’s season opener, Bunbury scored his first two goals of the season, heading home a cross from Seth Sinovic with just over a minute gone and then adding a scrappy finish in the 14th after Matt Pickens mishandled a Matt Besler throw-in.
HIGHLIGHTS: COL 2, SKC 2
“That first goal was a great buildup by the entire team, and he made a great, great, great finish,” Vermes said. “The second one, he was very opportunistic to stick it in the back of the net.”
Sinovic, returning from a two-game absence because of a broken right hand, played the entire 90 minutes at left back with his hand and forearm in a cast.
“He was decent,” Vermes said. “I think he was a little bit off in his timing, and a little bit of fitness. I think that was a question of not playing for a couple of weeks, aside from the reserve game last week.”
Also on the plus side of the ledger – for the most part, at least – was the play of Sporting’s subs, especially midfielder Peterson Joseph.
Joseph, making his first appearance of the year after an extended absence to deal with his mother’s death in Haiti, played 13 minutes in relief of Paulo Nagamura – who was himself filling in while Roger Espinoza served a one-game red-card suspension.
Joseph’s footwork showed why he’s been dubbed the “Haitian Xavi,” but Vermes said the midfielder’s match fitness is still far behind schedule.
“He can’t go 90 minutes,” Vermes said. “He’s in form in regards to his play, though.”
But despite the positives, Sporting are still saddled with yet another second-half collapse. Goals from Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura in the 52nd and 60th minutes, respectively, canceled out Bunbury’s brace. Both goals came after restarts deep in Sporting’s defensive half.
“I think you’re always trying to look at the number of set pieces you give up in your own half,” Vermes said. “We’ll take a look at those and see what happened. I only get one look at them during the game. I don’t see the replay. But we’ll look at both of those.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.