Kansas City, Kan. – Sporting KC blew a lead for the third straight match, and lost for the third straight match, dropping a 3-2 decision at home to the Colorado Rapids. The 90 minutes that’s took place at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday night were a microcosm of Sporting KC’s season.
Blown Leads: A microcosm of Sporting KC in 2019
After taking a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes, Sporting KC saw an interruption in their gameplan when captain Matt Besler was sent off. While not deserving of a straight red, it was worth a second yellow card and Besler’s night was done.
For the next 20 minutes, Sporting KC defended well, as Ilie Sanchez simply slotted into Besler’s spot along the backline. Then, defending set-pieces turned to shambles for the umpteenth time this season and it was 2-1 at the half. It seemed that once adversity came their way, they couldn’t figure out how to beat it.
“In any game, we have to change our plan or do something against [our gameplan],” lamented Ilie Sanchez after the match.
In years past, Sporting KC had been able to maintain the scoreline that was when somebody was sent off, when a wrinkle in their gameplan popped up. But in 2019, that has seemed insurmountable. Sporting gave up two more goals and found themselves on the opposite end of the winning scoreline after leading, for the third straight match.
Sporting can’t see out a result from a winning position again
That storyline has been consistent though. The three points Sporting KC dropped from a winning position brings their season total up to 22 points dropped from a winning position. When you’re sitting out on the edge of the playoff race, dropping results like that is going to hurt. When you do so time and time again, it will kill you.
While it might be unrealistic to expect all 22 to go their way, a team that we’ve come to expect out of Sporting would likely have at least half those points. If they were on 48 points (11 added) they’d comfortably be in the playoff conversation. While 2019 hasn’t been the norm for Sporting KC, Saturday night’s match was the norm for Sporting KC in 2019. In fact, it felt like Sporting KC’s season played out over 90 minutes.
They started out on fire in the match and started out on fire against Toluca. They had stayed afloat in MLS and gotten to the CCL semi-finals and looked like they would be ready to go full bore in MLS once they got knocked out by Monterrey. But then they went down multiple men in the form of injuries and have never recovered from that, stretch both physically and mentally. On Saturday, once they went down a man and gave up the goal, they couldn’t recover.
It was Sporting’s 2019 season wrapped up in a nutshell against Colorado. “Dropped confidence and dropped points” is going to be what the headstone reads on Sporting KC’s grave for the 2019 season.