Friday, June 10, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Sporting Kansas City

The Good

The strikers.  Even though you wouldn’t know it by looking at Sporting’s below average numbers, Sporting has shown flashes of dominant attacking ability, primarily from the very young yet very talented group of CJ Sapong , Teal Bunbury, and recently converted defender Chance Myers.  Consistency still plagues this group, which is to be expected with youth and inexperience (all three are younger than 25).  Omar Bravo has finally recovered from back surgery, which should help with consistency.  With the return of Bravo comes better control and ball movement.  It’s no coincidence that Sporting went on a five game losing streak while he was injured.  Last years leading scorer, Kei Kamara, has been relegated to more of an attacking midfield role with so much young talent up top.  He seems very comfortable there and has done a very good job of finding open players and getting them the ball, as well as finding some shots for himself in the process.

The Bad

Chemistry and careless mistakes.  The veterans and youngsters seem to have trouble getting on the same page while miscommunication accounts for the majority of goals given up by Sporting.  Simple things such as marking and crossing continue to be a problem.  Coach Vermes continues to try out new lineups to find the right combination, and with a handful of players absent from the team, while playing for their countries, that trend will most likely continue.  Davey Arnaud hasn’t been the same player this season and seems indecisive and uncomfortable with the ball.  The talent is there, but the team is clearly still trying to figure each other out.

The Ugly

Defense, defense, defense.  Although there has been improvement as of late, managing to string together a couple of shutouts, Sporting's defense has been atrocious for most of the season and easily the biggest problem this season.  Aurelien Collin has been a pleasant surprise, playing fearlessly while showing promise and stability in the middle.  Unfortunately, there haven't been many other bright spots along the back four.  Roger Espinoza seems to be more focused on pushing the ball up the field than marking a man, and Michael Harrington seems flat out overmatched at times.  Stephane Auvray generally does a very good job at staying back and covering when needed at midfield, he seems to always be in the right place at the right time, which makes you wonder if he should be converted into a center defender and replace the corpse of Julio Cesar.

Writers Notes: 
  • It would be fun to see an attacking tandem of Bunbury and Sapong at forward with Kei Kamara at attacking midfield.
  • Zusi needs more and Arnaud needs less playing time 
  • Roger Espinoza would be a much better defensive midfielder than defender.
    • The back four should be: Harrington (left), Besler (center), Collin (center), Myers (right)