Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sporting KC's Slump Continues

I know the week's half over, but I've finally had the time to write a little about the Seattle v. Sporting KC match from last weekend. First off, Peter Vermes said this was the best 90 minutes of the season from the team; which  isn't saying much, and too bad they switched off at the 90 minute mark instead of playing out stoppage time. Sporting did look a great deal better on the defensive side of the ball. Which is where they were most of the game. Other than a good chance by Ryan Smith early on Sporting had few and far between chances and attacks. It was nice to see nine and ten players behind the ball defending for most of the match and not the usual attacking player not tracking back. Jeff Parke's winner doesn't come down to Seattle out playing Sporting as many would think. This Sporting loss was completely mental and the losing mentality that has been created within the team is continuing to thrive by not seeing out a match. Sure we can question why there wasn't someone on the back post to clear the ball. If you watch the highlights Matt Besler is standing just inside the six-yard box and he runs out to head the ball away only to be beaten to it by Parke. If Besler stays he maybe in position to clear the ball, but it still may have gotten by him.

I was quite impressed with the Aurelien Collin-Matt Besler combination at centerback. A lot has been said about Julio Cesar not being quick enough or tough enough. Which is correct. Despite coming off of a long term injury Cesar has spent his career playing in leagues that base more on tactics and wit than on strength and speed. A terrible signing.

Despite liking the centerback pairing I am dumbfounded that Vermes played Omar Bravo as a midfielder. What a waste of DP money. Bravo spent 76 minutes doing practically nothing. If you're going to pay Bravo as much money as we believe he is getting (as the Union's paylist seemed off) than you shouldn't be playing him out of position. This goes back to my dislike for Vermes and his inability to put a team together in his time at Sporting as both technical director and manager over the past five season. He has over loaded this team with attacking players such as Bravo, Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong, Ryan Smith and he has neglected midfield players who can pass the ball and keep possession.

Again, I believe this 4-3-3 formation is the biggest problem the team is having. I understand Vermes wants a system and that's great. But his scouting and his basic idea of coaching this system seems to be way off base. He doesn't have the players to play in this system. Bunbury isn't able to be left on his own up top, and the midfield three are being isolated and losing the ball. Much of the time the back four are bypassing the midfield and knocking long balls up top for Bunbury and co. to lose; all because the midfield isn't up to the task.

MLS is a league that is difficult to build a set system that carries over year to year. Toronto is trying to do this, and unfortunately I believe it will fail. With the financial structure and player allocation and draft MLS has it is difficult to get the correct parts for these 4-3-3 attacking systems. Sporting cannot draft and sign players each year to fit into this system. Vermes needs to scrap the formation and put at least one more man in the midfield in an attempt to break up play and hold possession  .

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