KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Despite a four-match winless streak against Chicago, Sporting Kansas City insist they’re not jinxed against the men in red.
“I don’t buy into that kind of stuff,” manager Peter Vermes said after Sporting’s 1-0 home loss on Friday night. “Obviously we’ve been snakebitten every time we go to their place with PKs and red cards, but maybe we just need to be a little smarter. Who knows?”
Sporting’s last win against the Fire actually came at Toyota Park, a 2-0 decision on Oct. 12, 2010 – when they were still known as the Kansas City Wizards. Since then, they’re 0-3-1, including a scoreless draw last year in the first MLS game at Livestrong Sporting Park.
HIGHLIGHTS: SKC vs CHI
What has been especially frustrating over that stretch is that all three losses were by one goal each. And, as Vermes noted, both away defeats came after a Sporting player was sent off.
Omar Bravo was ejected from a 3-2 loss in 2011, and midfielder Roger Espinoza was given a straight red in Chicago’s 2-1 home victory this past May 12.
“Maybe it’s just our style of play against their style of play,” Espinoza said Friday night. “I don’t think they necessarily have our number. They just defended well and it wasn’t our night. Hopefully that will change the next time we play them – we play them one more time.”
That game is set for Sept. 28, also at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Still, forward Teal Bunbury said, having one more shot at the Fire this year doesn’t diminish the sting of the other two narrow losses.
“It’s getting frustrating,” Bunbury said. “All these fans coming out in 100-degree weather, we wanted to put on a show for them. It’s disappointing to let them down, but we’re going to have to regroup and get over this quickly. There are a lot of positives we can take from this game.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.