KANSAS CITY, Kan. – They call Jacob Peterson “The Answer” around here, and the nickname was never truer.
The veteran forward, making just his second appearance of the season, had a goal and an assist as a second-half sub to lift Sporting Kansas City to a 2-1 comeback victory over Orlando City on Sunday.
“Jake hasn't played a lot of minutes this year,” manager Peter Vermes said during the club's postmatch news conference. “The fact that he comes in here and he holds true to the first value we have as a group – that is, the team's first – whether he held a grudge or not, he didn't show it on the field. If he did, he displayed in a way and a fashion that's professional.”
But after scoring the game-winner in the 79th minute for Sporting, who snapped a seven-match winless streak, Peterson spent more time talking about his team's performance before he came in than his own contributions.
“I thought we were in good spots the whole time,” he said. “I think maybe we just lacked maybe a little bit of the aggressiveness in the box, and that's what Pete and the coaching staff told me – to come on and do that. But I thought the guys were doing excellent, and it was only a matter of time before we scored.”
Sporting did have the run of the game, racking up a club-record 34 shots – just four shy of the league record – and controlling 54.5 percent of the possession. Still, they trailed 1-0 after 73 minutes and 30 shots, after an own goal charged to left back Jimmy Medranda in the 67th minute.
Peterson came in for winger Brad Davis two minutes after the Lions took their improbable lead – and not long after that, Sporting's 31st shot changed everything.
Five minutes later, Peterson delivered again on Sporting's last shot of the afternoon.
Right back Saad Abdul-Salaam played the ball in from the corner to midfielder Roger Espinoza, who put a high diagonal ball into the area. Peterson, unmarked behind a pair of defenders, bounced his header past Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
“Not only was he calm and cool on the assist that he made, but more importantly, it was a great finishing play to be in the box like he was,” Vermes said. “We needed guys in the box late in the game, late like that, just because you expect the other team to make a mistake, and we were going to put the pressure on them. So, credit to him.”
And with Sporting picking up three points for the first time since April 9, Vermes is glad to set aside talk of the winless streak.
“At the end of the day, the focus should be on how good of a team we are when we play the way we did tonight,” he said. “We have that in us and when we do, I think it’s very tough to play against us.”