Sporting KC claws their way back to a draw


Sporting KC found a way to tie the New England Revolution Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park in a game that had many twists and turns

Sporting KC once again left a lot on the table and only came away with a 4-4 draw against New England .  Sporting KC fought through an early two goal deficit, and was a play or two away from completing a remarkable comeback win.  Head coach Peter Vermes was proud of how his team kept fighting through the adversity that they had put themselves in.

“I give the guys a lot of credit for that piece and that part is good.  We just can’t give up the goals. I don’t like the fact that we gave up the goals and that part has to stop,” Vermes said.  We found a way to fight back. I do think the guys left their hearts on the field.”

Early on both teams struggled to string consistent amount of passes together, and found it difficult to progress down the field.  New England’s high press on Sporting KC’s defense created many chances to produce counter attacks, but were unable to breakthrough early in the first half.  The Revolution finally took advantage of a Sporting KC miscue in the 18th minute when Juan Agudelo intercepted a pass, and found Juan Caicedo who calmly passed the ball into the back of net.  This goal allowed New England to sit back on defense, and expose Sporting KC’s defense on the counter attack.

The Revolution’s tactic of sitting back allowed Sporting KC to control the pace and find open pockets of space along either side of the field.  In the 32nd minute, Sporting KC nearly tied the game when Gerso Fernandes avoided Revolution defender Andrew Farrell, and found Krisztian Nemeth open in front of goal, but Nemeth sent the shot wide.  About a minute later, Sporting KC was able to knot the game at one when Graham Zusi sent a curling cross into the box to Nemeth who headed the ball into the center of the goal. New England quickly took the lead back in the 35th minute off of a counter attack.  Revolution’s midfielder outpaced Sporting KC’s defender Andreu Fontas on a through ball, and slid a pass to Caicedo who easily scored right in front of goal.

This was Caicedo’s second goal of the game.  New England was not done as they expanded their lead to 3-1 in the 41st minute with a goal from Juan Agudelo.  The Revolution would take this lead into the half, leaving Sporting KC in dismay and turmoil. Although Sporting KC dominated possession, they were lacking in producing opportunities as they only had one shot on target in the first half.

Sporting KC started the second half with sense of urgency, realizing that they had to find a way to get back into the game.  New England received a blow in the 55th minute when Brandon Bye was given a red card for malice slide on Fernandes. The Revolution were down to 10 men heading into the final thirty minutes of play.  Sporting KC were gifted a penalty in the 58th minute when Buchanan seemed to have pulled down Fernandes on the edge of the penalty area. New England players were furious, claiming that Fernandes had dove to portray that he had knocked over.  Felipe Gutierrez was able to convert the penalty, giving Sporting KC a chance to gain something from the match. Once again, New England had an answer for Sporting KC and brought their back to lead to a two goal advantage in the 66th minute. New England were given a penalty when Johnny Russell’s hand grazed the ball.  Sporting KC’s goalkeeper Tim Melia came up with a huge save Carles Gil’s penalty, but after multiple blocked shots, Dejuan Jones pounced on the loose ball and scored on an empty net. Sporting KC had little time to manufacture two goals, but were still a man up due to the earlier red card for the Revolution.

In the 67th minute, it appeared that Sporting KC had decreased their lead to one when Nemeth headed in a rebound off of Russell’s shot, but was in an offside position.  Nemeth would bounce back from this contribute to Sporting KC’s next goal in the 70th minute when he scooped a pass to Gutierrez who was able to rocket the shot into the bottom right corner.  Nemeth could not catch a break and was denied another goal in the 72nd minute when his header is cleared off the line. Sporting KC continued to push up the field late in the second half, applying pressure on the New England defense.

Constant pressure by Sporting KC’s forwards forced many mistakes by Revolution defenders, and most of the time resulted in corners for Kansas City.  Sporting KC were finally able to capitalize on one of their many corner kicks in the 83rd minute when Nemeth tracked the ball and headed the ball into the bottom left corner.  The game was knotted at four, and Sporting KC were in prime position to steal the game away from New England. Sporting KC dominated the flow of the game in the final 10 minutes, but were never able to breakthrough the Revolution defense.  The game would end in a back and forth 4-4 draw.

Vermes felt that the game was exciting for the players and fans, but felt that the team gave up too many goals at the end of the day.

“If it was anything, it was an entertaining game for people who were watching it and in the stadium.  Giving up that many goals was not a good thing for us,” Vermes said. “We were close there at the end, we almost stole it.  It was a crazy game.”

Sporting KC will look to get a win when they host Atlanta United on May 5 at Children’s Mercy Park.

laldpy@mail.umkc.edu

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