Sporting KC: Defensive Errors, Squandered Chances will keep them out of the playoffs

Defensive Errors
VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 13: Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) watches the action during their match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on July 13, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)(Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City are doing all the right things to not be competing in the playoffs this season. Sloppy defensive errors, squandered opportunities and a lack of urgency have been repeating themes this season for a team that usually finds itself at the top.

And all three of those characteristics were on show on Saturday night, as Sporting KC fell to FC Dallas, 2-0, at Children’s Mercy Park.

“If you get chances like we do, and you don’t score them, it’s shame on us. Simple as can be,” said Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes.

Defensive errors

Sporting may have conceded two goals, but it should have been a clean sheet if not for defensive errors. A pair of “soft goals”, as Vermes described them, was the difference between a close game and a cakewalk for Dallas.

“We gave the ball away obviously, we made it too easy on them,” Vermes said. “The second goal we did what we had to do in regards to blocking the first one, we’ve got to run through the guy. You don’t run through him the ball drops and they’re on the second ball, we’ve just got to clear it.”

The first goal came from a misplaced back pass from Seth Sinovic that completely missed its target of Gianluca Busio. Instead, Michael Barrios found himself with the ball in a position he should never have found himself in in the first place.

While the second goal simply came from a lack of urgency in defense. Jesus Ferreira simply wanted the ball more than the Sporting KC backline.

“The ball bounces their way and credit to the guy he still has to finish it, so, unfortunately, we’ve got to work through those things right now,” said Matt Besler, who was involved in the play.

It’s these kinds of defensive errors that will keep Sporting KC below the playoff line. A defense that has been so steady for years is now finding itself scrambling for answers weekly.

Hapless attacking

It took 17 shots for Kansas City to finally force Jesse Gonzalez into a save on Saturday night. Seventeen. The fact that Sporting is getting that many shots off is a promising sign, but not putting any of them on target won’t get the job done.

Busio had several good chances to pull the trigger but either hesitated or fired far wide. In front of him, Johnny Russell had a quiet night, while Daniel Salloi is still searching for his first goal of the season.

“We had great chances, we have three golden opportunities and we don’t hit the target on all three of them in the first half,” Vermes said. “You have to sink one of them.”

It’s been a theme all season that the forwards will find their form or too many players are out injured. But Sporting is finally approaching full fitness, and with no improvement in sight, the curtains are beginning to close on Kansas City’s season.

“It’s been up and down, it’s been inconsistent. We have a good performance and we follow it up with one where we don’t get a result,” Besler said. “We’ve got to start building on performances and put a run together because time is running out and games are running out as well.”

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