In my preview, I vaguely suggested that Sporting Kansas City might throw a wrench in my plans by playing some reserves. That is exactly what they did, but they didn't leave Seattle empty handed leaving with a draw. Jacob Peterson, in a second straight strong performance, opened the scoring with a curling shot in the eight minute. The lead however was not meant to last as Patrick Ianni lost Michael Harrington and scored a tremendous side-volley. The match did not disappoint as both teams hit the frame, but it devolved into a petty brawl towards the end as some evenly contested draws do. Here's some more thoughts on the match:
Great Result for Peter Vermes
Nobody prefers a draw to a win, especially when you take the lead at one point in the match. However, don't mistake a 1-1 draw on the road a failure in this instance. Probably noting the schedule congestion, Vermes rested some key starters for the start of the match and Sporting KC essentially played Seattle to a draw. The insertion of the regular starters in an attempt to steal the game didn't come off as well as it could have, but the energy that Graham Zusi had in his thirty minutes was apparent. In the next few games, Sporting will need to play its reserves and it's a testament to coaching and preparation that they maintained the status quo yesterday.
A Mixed Bag for the Subs
Three men made their first starts for Sporting KC. It was a much anticipated appearance for Peterson Joseph who showed some flashes in earlier matches. However, the team was obviously in much better shape with Graham Zusi's insertion to the lineup. He failed to assert himself, but that could be said for the majority of Sporting KC on the offensive end. Michael Thomas was the completely out of left field insertion to the lineup, and for better or worse, he was not a stand out either. Like Julio Cesar often is, he essentially was a space filler as both teams used the wings with aplomb. That being said he didn't make any major mistakes that would condemn him to never seeing the field again. The best start went to Soony Saad who did noting to dissuade the notion that his is not a winger, but almost got a goal when his shot hit the frame. If Teal Bunbury and CJ Sapong are ever both out, don't worry about not having a striker. Lawrence Olum was again steady in the back, but no player looks near as nervous/terrified as he does when he plays.
Poor Officiating Still Plagues MLS
The match got out of hand towards the end. To be detached and reasonable, Aurelien Collin should have been sent off for dissent several times, but the referee was kindly not willing to give that second yellow. In the match's entirety, the referee swallowed his whistle and was hesitant to go to pocket. Giving out yellows earlier may have stopped the end match antics which could have resulted in major injury to key players for both sides. The red card for Alvaro Fernandez was deserved, but probably would not have occurred if Roger Espinoza is called for a foul on him seconds earlier and in most leagues booked for his reckless challenge. Good for Sporting KC to maintain their cool and not get anyone red carded or suspended, but sometimes as an fan of soccer you root for the referee to call the game correctly.