Over the last five matches Sporting Kansas City are 1-2-2 and have only scored five goals. During this run of mediocrity, we’ve experienced a lack of creativity, lack of control in the midfield, inability to create quality chances, and most importantly a wealth of chances being created that aren’t finished or at least put on goal.
For example, Saturday’s matchup against Houston saw a poor performance from both Kansas City and Houston. Sporting KC created some chances and earned 17 shots on goal for the game, the Dynamo recorded 7. Most developments in the final third were coming from crosses or long corners put in by Graham Zusi. Lately, chances like these from long crosses or corners are not being put on frame. It seems as though the rest of the league have picked up on how to defend these crosses from the flanks.
Guess what? Sporting KC’s best chance of the game did not come from a corner or cross, but a great run off the ball from Roger Espinoza and a pass into the center of the field to Jacob Peterson. Peterson had Sinovic sprinting into open space on the other side of the field but took a great shot that beat Tally Hall and went off the post and out for a corner.
During the last five games, one key component of SKC’s early success has been absent: Bobby Convey, who has been nursing a calf strain for over 5 weeks. In the last five games that Convey did play in, Sporting went 1-3-1, but while Bobby Convey was playing SKC scored five goals, six in those five games overall. Convey also recorded his first goal for the club and of the season against Chicago. In the next five games, in which Convey did not take part in, Sporting went 2-2-1 and scored 5 goals. While the record was better in these five games, Sporting were not up against top competition. Toronto FC under brand new management was not a tough task, and Sporting did not have a problem with a Wondo- and Lenhart-less San Jose Earthquakes.
To be quite frank, recent Sporting KC league games have been snoozefests, with countless crosses being played in with a lackluster header on the end of it or no direction toward goal. With Bobby Convey expected to be back in action any time (I’m not sure if he will play in the Open Cup game in Philadelphia), I would hope and expect that the front 3 are more efficient, dangerous, and fine-tuned in the future. While Jacob Peterson has filled in for Convey admirably, there is no distributor in the front three that can play to Kamara and Sapong’s strengths like Bobby Convey. With Convey in the attacking third of the field playing in balls for two of the best forwards in the league, Sporting’s attack may look as potent and exciting as it did in the first seven games of the season.
In other news, Sporting have added some Center Back depth by signing Greek defender Neven Markovic. As a result of this signing Sporting have waived Shawn Singh. Markovic will wear number 25.