Three Key Takeaways From Sporting KC vs FC Dallas

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: D.C. United midfielder Marcelo Sarvas (7) chases after Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber (10) during an MLS match on March 04, 2017, at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United played to a 0-0 tie. (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kansas (March 11, 2017)– After threats of “the orange ball” with snow falling during the day in the KC Metro region, the field was clear and so was the sky. A crisp, and cold evening, FC Dallas had no intentions of attempting to control the match. They wasted time the entire match and made very few attempts to go forward. Ultimately, both Sporting KC and FC Dallas walked away with a point, but without a goal. Here are three things to take away from the goalless draw.

Three Key Takeaways From Sporting KC vs FC Dallas

FC Dallas Is Clearly Fixated on CONCACAF Champions League

It’s safe to say that Dallas was looking ahead to the CCL Semi-Finals in the midweek. They bunkered in and didn’t offer much outside of one significant counter attack going forward. That was clearly their game-plan from the get go. They also did every little thing they could to disrupt the flow of the game and stall out for a draw. Benny Feilhaber lamented that in the postgame comments.

“I’m sure if you asked Dallas they’d tell you that’s what they were trying to do. I don’t think it was a secret. They were trying to grind out a result. They got a really good result on the road last week, and they play champions league this upcoming week,” said Feilhaber. “So of course a zero-zero draw for them was fantastic. If they can sneak a goal on a counter, on a set piece, even better. But for them, a zero-zero draw was what they came here for.”

That right there should tell you enough.

Sporting KC Are Still Working Out the Kinks in the Final Third

Sporting KC had nearly 70% possession against FC Dallas. A goal at times felt inevitable, but they lacked the cohesion in the final third. Dom Dwyer mistimed a clear header, Gerso and Blessing had brilliant chances to score goals in the final 20 minutes. But for the second week in a row, Sporting KC got held scoreless. While some fans can be extremely frustrated with the lack of goals in the first two weeks, Sporting KC have out chanced, out-shot, and out-possessed their opponents by a pretty good margin. Naturally, the goals will come.

One thing Peter Vermes mentioned was the fact that both D.C. United, and Dallas sat deep on them. He said, “I think you have to realize how difficult it is when a team drops back within 40-50 yards from their goal and compacts the space, there’s not a lot of places to go in there. We even at times tried to drop off to let them come out a little bit, but they were very quick to get numbers behind the ball”

More space and room in that final third should will lead to more clear cut chances to score. However, if teams continue to bunker in on them, it might make it really difficult. To combat that, they’ll just need to get sharper in the final third.

Graham Zusi Has Settled In Well At Right Back

For as much as a significant portion of Sporting KC’s fanbase (and myself), loved Saad Abdul-Salaam at right back, Graham Zusi has definitely taken hold of his chance at right back. In today’s match, he intercepted one pass, made five ball recoveries, and completed 94% of his passes attempted. He knows how to link up well in the final third, and did his job in retaining possession. Until/if his form dips, Zusi is well solidified at the right back.

What’s Next?

Sporting KC take on a red hot San Jose Earthquakes team next Saturday, at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The match is scheduled to kick off around 7:30 pm, local time.