KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sporting Kansas City's shutout victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night should portend good things for Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions League match between the two sides, right?
Maybe, maybe not.
Sporting have won six straight at home, after Saturday night's 2-0 victory over the Whitecaps, but are winless in their last seven matches on the road across all competitions – including their CCL opener, a 2-2 draw against Central FC on Tuesday in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago.
“It’s two different situations,” manager Peter Vermes said during his postmatch news conference. “The first is these were huge points for us tonight for league play, so that part was very important. I think going into Tuesday, it’s obvious there are a lot of guys that played tonight that probably won’t play on Tuesday because of the short turnaround and the travel.
“So what we’ll have to do there is we’ll have to go in with another game plan.”
Vancouver lead the CCL group with three points, with Sporting on one.
“We know they have an excellent team,” Vermes said. “They are always very good on the counter, and it’s something we will have to be very aware of going into their place. We will take inventory of the guys tonight and tomorrow, put a group together to travel on Monday and try to get a result on Tuesday.”
In the meantime, Sporting can enjoy the continuation of their recent run of form at Children's Mercy Park – and another solid night from forward Jacob Peterson, who scored Kansas City's opening goal in the 39th minute and then drew the foul that led to Benny Feilhaber's match-icing penalty kick in the 64th.
“It was important for us to get a goal in the first half,” said Peterson, who has three goals in Sporting's last five matches. “We had a lot of set pieces, a lot of maybe not great, clear-cut chances, but we were in and around their box. I thought it was important, especially a team like that who is really good on the counter, they like to sit back and counter, so I think it was really important to get that goal.
“In the second half, I thought we did a really good job to finish off the game and get another one.”
Feilhaber, who had an assist on Peterson's goal, scored from the spot on his second try, after Whitecaps 'keeper David Ousted stopped his first attempt but was called for being off his line.
“I thought Ousted was going to my left at first and I think it threw me off,” Feilhaber said. “I think he moved forward, from what the guys said, but I don’t think he moved side to side too much. He made it tougher on me.
“I shanked the first one, to be honest, and thankfully I got a second opportunity and just tried to kick it a little bit harder, so if he did guess, which he guessed right again, I could put a little more steam on it.”