Toluca vs. Sporting Kansas City - Game Highlights
Highlights: Watch the goals of @SportingKC's historic 2-0 victory in Mexico against @TolucaFC #SCCL2019Posted by Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League on Thursday, February 28, 2019
After a comprehensive 3-0 win at Children’s Mercy Park in Leg 1, Sporting Kansas City went down to Mexico and finished off their Round of 16 Concacaf Champions League series against Toluca without any issues. Peter Vermes’s squad won 2-0 Thursday night, advancing 5-0 on aggregate.
Sporting put out the same XI as in Leg 1. Gerso Fernandes got the scoring started, getting on the end of a perfect diagonal from Roger Espinoza. Krisztian Nemeth added Sporting's second of the night from the penalty spot after drawing the penalty (and a Toluca red card) himself.
Matt Doyle and Bobby Warshaw discuss the match and Sporting's prospects below.
MD: Remember last year when the New York Red Bulls destroyed Xolos in the first leg, and then the second leg started and you kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the Liga MX team to open the faucet and kept waiting and waiting and waiting and the moment just never came?
That’s what this series felt like. I know Toluca’s fire-your-coach-level bad right now, but what a showing from Sporting.
TOLUCA FANS ARE MOCKING THEIR OWN TEAM BY OLE'ING EVERY SPORTING KC PASS. I'M WEAK.— MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) March 1, 2019
BW: We’ve seen MLS teams beat Liga MX teams over two-legs, and we’ve seen MLS teams beat Liga MX teams in Mexico (four times previously to be exact), but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen an MLS team beat a Mexican team like this. SKC have passed and pressed their way to utter dominance.
MD: It was the passing that did it, man. SKC just repeatedly played through and around them, and totally controlled the game save for a bit of a scramble in the first 10 minutes. Peter Vermes – the first coach ever to bring the high press to MLS – now coaches a team that plays the most flowing, attractive soccer in the league. It was gorgeous and I’m here for it.
Guess that’s why he keeps signing guys who’ve spent at least some amount of time at Barcelona.
BW: Is there any concern that SKC could get Toronto’d? Fabulous in CCL, but expend so much focus and emotional energy that they come up flat in MLS?
MD: I don’t think so. A long run might mean they’re only a “really good” regular season team as opposed to a Supporters’ Shield-caliber team, but I think they have too much depth and institutional knowledge to fall completely flat even if they have six more CCL games to play.
If anything, they’re more likely to replicate RBNY’s season from last year. Like the Red Bulls, they have a system, and Vermes will have to replicate RBNY’s willingness to go down the depth chart when opportunities present. I think he will.
BW: So all in all, a ton of reasons for optimism around the Cauldron right now. Independiente, victors over Toronto FC, await in the quarterfinals next week.