KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It didn't matter that their central defense was stitched together with fullbacks and good intentions, and that yet another defender may be lost for some time. No matter how tough their circumstances, Sporting Kansas City still weren't happy with taking a single point at home.
They had a one-goal lead and a man advantage – but once again, they couldn't keep the ball out of their own net in stoppage time. Sporting have conceded a league-worst five goals after the 90th minute this year, including Bradley Orr's stoppage-time header for Toronto FC in Friday night's 2-2 draw.
“We essentially gave two points away,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber told reporters after the game. “We gave them a point and threw two in the trash. It's very frustrating. It doesn't matter the personnel we're missing. We could be missing our whole – we are missing our whole back line, basically – but it's unacceptable. We can't give up goals, especially in the last five minutes of the game and in injury time.”
And to make matters worse, right back Chance Myers – who started at center back for the first time since his 2009 Generation Adidas tour – had to come out in the first half with a left Achilles injury.
Two scores from Dom Dwyer, who has goals in four straight matches and now leads MLS with 10, had Sporting up 1-0 after 47 minutes and 2-1 after 84. But nobody got to Nick Hagglund's high ball into the 6-yard box in the first minute of stoppage time, and Orr didn't miss from point-blank range.
“All in all, I thought we actually played a decent game,” Feilhaber said. “It's silly mistakes, lack of concentration. On that play – I mean, we've gone over it here already with players. There were at least five or six guys who could have made a difference on that play. One of those six guys makes a difference on that play, and we go out 2-1.”
Still, manager Peter Vermes said, Sporting's depleted defense presents a significant challenge.
“The different lineup we have to put out there, Chance goes down early, all the decisions that not only we have to make on the sideline – but more importantly, the guys have to deal with – I thought we were the better team tonight,” he said in his postmatch news conference. “Unfortunately, at the end, we got a little unlucky. We could have done better with both goals, actually, and maybe that's just a little bit of inexperience. But at the end of the day, based on what we're dealing with, that was a very, very good performance and I'm actually very proud of the guys.”
The attitude of not being satisfied with a point even in adverse circumstances is a good sign, goalkeeper Eric Kronberg said.
“That shows you that we're a team that plays together,” he said. “That shows when you have people who aren't used to playing positions step in and play together, and we work hard together. Unfortunately, that last minute again – that's something we've got to fix. We've definitely addressed it, and we've worked on it. It can't keep happening.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.