KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Eight players either hurt or gone on international duty, down 1-0 after just 11 minutes, and Sporting Kansas City still turned in arguably their most convincing victory of the season.
“You can see that this side is a hungry team,” forward Dom Dwyer told reporters on Wednesday night, after scoring one goal and drawing a penalty-kick foul to set up another in a 4-2 victory over the streaking New England Revolution. “You can see that from the top to the bottom. Everyone wants it, and every guy can contribute. We were down to bare bones tonight, had to call a guy back from on loan to make 18, so that shows the character of the team. Seventeen. I'm not counting.
“We'll deal with what we get and fight for it. We're all working through injuries and nagging hurt bodies, and we just keep pushing and keep going.”
Sporting had only 17 players available on Wednesday, and that only after recalling rookie defender Saad Abdul-Salaam – who made his MLS debut as a late sub – from his loan to the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions. Still, they blew the match open with four goals, two by Hungarian winger Krisztian Nemeth, over a 17-minute span that began just before the half-hour mark and continued into the first minute of the second half.
“I really think the reason why we were able to get a result tonight was because of this one thing, and one thing only: We take every game that’s coming up as our most important, and we’re focused on that game, and we’re not thinking about the next,” manager Peter Vermes said in his postmatch news conference. “The idea of us coming in tonight and knowing we’re at home, we need to try and take the points. We need to go out there and be determined about how we’re going to play, we need to be very disciplined in how we play. I think that because of that, the mentality of the guys, knowing that and focusing on that is the reason why we get a result.
“That is something that I’m proud of, that we have that focus to be able to do that. Especially in a time when, look, we’re beat up a little bit. It’s not, you know, any big statement, it’s just [who] we are. We’re missing quite a few guys. But it’s great to see how many guys have come into the game and are able to come in and contribute the way these guys have.”
Sporting fell behind 1-0 on Juan Agudelo's goal in the 11th minute, but charged back with goals from Dwyer in the 29th, Nemeth in the 39th, Feilhaber – on the penalty kick after Dwyer drew a foul on Jose Goncalves – in the 43rd to go into the break 3-1.
“We go down a goal, mistake on my part, and then every single guy picks me up, picks the team up and we deserved the game from then on out,” said Feilhaber, whose turnover led to the Agudelo strike. “It says a lot about the mentality, the ability of the guys, what this stadium does for us in our home games.”
Many in the sellout crowd of 18,864 hadn’t yet returned to their seats when Nemeth iced the win with his second goal in the 46th minute, after winger Jacob Peterson made a long run to take a long through ball from Feilhaber – who recorded his league-leading sixth assist on Nemeth's first goal – away from the Revs' Kevin Alston.
“We wanted to start the half off well, because we knew they were going to come flying, and we obviously knew they had some big guys on the bench that were going to come in,' Peterson told reporters. “Benny played a good ball in, and Krisztian did the hard part. I just fed it across to him.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.