With more than 20% of the MLS season completed for Sporting Kansas City, what exactly can we dissect from the team so far? Probably not much to be honest.
One week, it looks as if Sporting can become MLS Cup contenders and the next, it looks as if they have no shot at beating their USL affiliate Oklahoma City. SKC has nine points in seven games which is just above the magical 40 points usually needed to be assured of a playoff spot but they find themselves in 9th place out of 10 teams in the Western Conference. Even though Sporting is in 9th, they sit two points behind 3rd place LA Galaxy so a win can realistically put them up from close to last to close to first. So it’s way too early to tell where this team is heading.
If there is a certainty among Sporting Kansas City, it’s that injuries have already dealt the team a major blow. Fantasy favorite Ike Opara is out for the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles very soon after he got over a season ending knee injury that kept him out of most of last season. Opara’s injury leaves SKC vulnerable at center back, especially when Matt Besler goes to play for the US Mens National Team. It’s unknown if Peter Vermes is going to sign someone to fill in but with Kevin Ellis and Erik Palmer-Brown likely filling in as well as Jalil Anibaba as a potential replacement after Chance Myers comes back to play right back, the center back position may be Sporting’s Achilles Heel (no pun intended).
After suffering another late game collapse against the LA Galaxy, Sporting faces a rather tough stretch on their schedule. Sporting has some rivalry games coming up. This Saturday, they come down to Houston to play the Dynamo and then play the Chicago Fire at home the next Sunday on FOX Sports 1. After that, they travel to the capital, Washington DC and play DC United at RFK Stadium. These games are going to be very physical from both sides and it won’t look the like the most beautiful play out there, but it is going to be a crucial stretch of games for Sporting Kansas City as we lead into the summer months.
(image courtesy of Allison Long/The Star)