Sporting Kansas City proved they could take a punch – two, actually – and still come away with three road points.
Sporting KC rallied from a 2-1 deficit to pick up an impressive 3-2 road victory over the 10-man Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The win was the latest example of Sporting KC's ability to grab results even when they are not playing at their best.
“It showed a lot about our team, because basically we weren't on today,” manager Peter Vermes told reporters in a conference call following the win.” I think what we did was that we kept pushing and kept trying. I don't think that we were firing on all cylinders today, but what I do think is that we kept playing and kept trying to push it.”
And Sporting pushed through, despite conceding two penalties in a match for the third time in club history and the first since the then-Wizards did it at New York on Oct. 14, 2006.
Two spot kicks by Vicente Sanchez, one off a controversial call on a play that left center back Ike Opara with a match-ending leg injury, had the Rapids up 2-1 on Sporting after 78 minutes on Saturday.
But less than a minute after Sanchez completed his brace from the spot (the only place the Rapids have scored from in three matches this year), Benny Feilhaber – whose foul led to that second goal – knocked in an equalizer at the other end, and the comeback was on.
Substitute forward Dom Dwyer then delivered a blast into the roof of the net in the 92nd minute for a 3-2 win for Sporting, who are unbeaten in their last three MLS matches.
“That was an important time of the game,” Feilhaber, who was called for the foul on Colorado's second penalty kick, told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “I wanted to redeem myself and get us back in it.”
That's the sort of effort Vermes was pleased to see from his club in general and his hard-working midfielder in particular.
“That just shows a strong determination,” said Vermes. “And he realizes that today, he worked hard even though it was hard to find people because we didn't move very well off the ball. His play showed that he has a lot of work ethic on the field. That got him the second goal.”
Vermes was also happy that Sporting didn't settle for the road point, pressing forward even before Rapids defender Marvell Wynne was sent off in the 85th minute after drawing his second yellow for a foul on Graham Zusi.
“They got the red card, and our guys sensed it a little bit,” said Vermes – and seven minutes after that, Dwyer drove his left-footed blast inside the near post and into the roof of the net.
“He absolutely tattooed that ball,” Vermes said. “There's no way for the goalkeeper to react. He blew it right past him. I don't even think he moved.”
While it was gratifying to complete the comeback, Feilhaber said, the result was more important than how it came about.
“I'm pretty satisfied with any three points, whichever way it is,” he said. “Obviously, it's three points that are going to put us in a position to get into the playoffs. Every point counts in the regular season, no matter whether it's hard-fought or well-played.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.