Monday, June 20, 2011

Sporting KC Two Wins in Row?

After beginning the season in such dire form and sitting bottom of the overall table in MLS for much of the first third of the season Sporting KC now sits... ummmmm... Bottom of the table. However, they sit bottom with a brilliant chance of catching not only the last automatic playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but they could very well catch the struggling Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls who are only nine points better off.

Since the beginning of the season I was adamant about two things: Peter Vermes needed to go and/or Sporting KC needed to change their 4-3-3 into a formation with four midfielders to protect the backline. Well, it was the later that occurred and since doing so Sporting has reeled off two consecutive wins. They're undefeated in their last five, and haven't been beaten since traveling to Seattle where they were beaten by an injury-time goal.

Since changing formations into a 4-5-1 the club has relied more on their midfield and defense than the misfiring Teal Bunbury or Omar Bravo. The unheralded Graham Zusi and C.J. Sapong have been the true leaders over the past few matches. Both are equal on league goals with the DP Bravo and one behind Bunbury, who most people thought would have a break out season and take the MLS Golden Boot. Which could still happen. Though he hasn't scored since week three in Vancouver.

The amazing thing is (and I admit Vermes may have gotten it right) that these two draftees have been the real deal as of late. Though both have a lot of growing to do still. We're also starting to see the improvements a healthy Chance Myers has made. He has succeeded in the reserve division thus far, and is now proving to be a good MLS quality fullback. Throw in Luke Sassano and these are the true leaders of Sporting currently and not Bravo or Bunbury. Many would say Bravo has been good so far this year, but I'm not convinced Kei Kamara or someone else couldn't play the current role that is occupied by Bravo. Bravo hasn't scored since opening day and has missed good chances ever since. Not to mention been injuried and suspended.

This team has a long way to go, and could just as easily go cold and still end the season in last place. Right now this club is in a fragile state. We are being teased. One or two more results and this team could take off, but a loss next match against Philadelphia and it could all go back to where Sporting was two weeks ago. It has been an unbelievable surprise of late and I'm sure there are more in store. I must give Vermes credit for being slightly proactive and giving into a formation change. It's nice to see Sporting make headlines for what's on the pitch and not Ochocinco, free subs or a name change that has been derided throughout the league. They're finaling getting results. Atleast for now.

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