KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With playoff positioning on the line, Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake played to a one-all draw on Sunday. The point leaves SKC in second place in the West while RSL are now two points up on the LA Galaxy for the final playoff spot.
Despite failing to get a win, RSL head coach Mike Petke was quite happy with his teams’ performance in a tough venue to play in.
“The point was 100 percent massive for us,” Petke said. “Guys put everything in there. The gameplan, obviously we knew we were going to be under it a lot. That’s a credit to Kansas City, especially here, at this stadium. The environment is unbelievable but our movement, our denying them, allowing [Ike] Opara on the ball a lot to dribble into scenarios, and then looking to exploit.”
That’s exactly how their first goal came, as RSL sprung the counter and Jefferson Savarino played in a perfectly weighted pass to Corey Baird, who scored his seventh goal of his rookie campaign. Petke thought they should’ve had more.
“Corey’s goal was a perfect transition goal for us,” said Petke. “Our transition early in the game, I honestly thought we had the opportunity if we were quicker - which usually we are if we were quicker in transition to get at goal a couple more times.”
For Sporting KC and Peter Vermes, they felt that the urgency in the game was better than in their 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union last Sunday.
“I can’t really criticize the team because I thought we played pretty well,” Vermes said. “We kept our composure when we went down one-nil. We scored off a set piece, and then the number of chances we created was fantastic. We just didn’t put those other ones a way and finish off the three points.”
Sporting KC also started the match without Diego Rubio, who just found his way back from injury. He instantly gave Sporting KC a spark for the final 20 minutes as he was involved in six or seven chances as Sporting pushed for a winner.
“He was out and I didn’t want to put the load on him just in this game,” Vermes said. “So it was good to get him back into the team. Played well. Created some good stuff.”
Vermes continued, “Hopefully he’s getting back into his good form, and a lot of it will have to do with how he responds after the game. But, hopefully he’s good."