Two games into the season and KC have only played 11v11 for roughly 90mins. Thanks to another red card in the first half, KC have played two, full, second halves of soccer to start the season off. Thus, Sporting starts the season off with a nice clean 6 points.
Take One: The youth continues to shine.
Let’s start off by stating the obvious: We all know KC is not going to be LA, Toronto, or NYCFC in terms of signing big named players. It’s just a more difficult task for KC. We all know this, and Peter Vermes and Robb Heinemann have been vocal on this subject. Bruce Arena has also been vocal on the subject of fostering youth in the MLS. According to Jeff Carlisle, Arena is of the belief that the academy programs that each MLS club now has are an important step in improving the level of play1. In some ways this is comical considering the way Bruce Arena has consistently built his team. Regardless, it is nice to see KC advocating for the support and development of youth in this country while continuing compete for championships.
The game Saturday night made that evident.
While it has not yet explicitly stated by Vermes, Dia seems to have taken over the starting left-back spot for the time being. If he continues to build on what he accomplished last year, he will take that spot over indefinitely. Dia has the offensive quality that Sinovic seems to lack, while not lossing a step on defence. He pestered Techera for 45 minutes on Saturday. Techera was taken off at half, due to the red card.
Quintilla is only starting in the absence of Feilhaber, but has shown his quality. Even Fielhaber during the broadcast joked that he would be giving the number 10 jersey to him.
Quintilla has soft feet, and the ability to turn, push forward and connect play on the offense – like Feilhaber. While there are still small situations where improvement is needed, more play time and experience should do the trick. Rest assured though, there is a highly capable backup for Benny.
Hallisey also got the start due to injuries to Davis and Mapp. Like Quintilla, Hallisey offers a quality backup for the team. He will certainly get a good chunk of minutes this year, and will offer more on the field than someone like Jacob Peterson. As a similar player to Zusi, Hallisey could prove to be key for SKC’s future.
Like Quintillia there are a few situations Hallisey needs to improve. But his superb first touch at times, his speed and ball-handling are all qualities that give him a very bright future.
The game against Vancouver gave evidence to the proper development of youth at Sporting KC. If you want to see more of that, go to the Home Opener for Swope Park Rangers at Children’s Mercy Park on March 26th!
Take 2: Depth = new approach to the beginning of the season.
Even though the season has kicked off in winning fashion, it is noticeable that Vermes and Company are taking a more tailored and mindful approach to the beginning of the 2016 season. With the resting of Davis, Feilhaber and Opara it is evident that Sporting KC are taking their time to ensure proper healing of injuries within the team.
The past two years have given Sporting trouble down the home-stretch of the season. With the quality depth and youth the team brought in last year and this offseason, it gives Vermes the ability to rest a few of those guys at the beginning of the season. It should also give Vermes the ability to rotate the lineup throughout the year to keep guys fresh on a more consistent basis.
Chance Meyers and Graham Zusi looked fantastic and back to their old ways. The assist by Chance on the second goal was an absolute GEM! Zusi deserves an assist on that goal.
Roger Espinoza might be the quintessential player for Sporting KC. Look out for an article to come near the end of the week discussing the topic. He was absolutely deserving of an assist if the attempt in the first half would have produced a goal. Espo picked his head up 40 yards out to see Dom making a run at goal, and played an absolutely spot on through ball to Zusi for a first time hard cross on the ground. The play was fantastic to watch, and would have been a peach of a goal.