Sporting KC defense stands tall against Giovinco and Toronto FC as offense still sputters

HOW IT PLAYED OUT

One — the number of goals Sporting Kansas City has allowed in the first 360 minutes of the season.

That'll do. 

Two — the number of goals Sporting KC has scored in that same amount of time. 

That won't. 

Despite facing a loaded Toronto FC attack on Friday, Sporting KC once again looked poised to break down the door and put away two or three chances. While the defense held their own, those chances on the other end were squandered like they have been for most of the first month of the season.

Considering the conditions at BMO Field, a rainy and cold affair, a mishit here and a slip inside the box there is understandable. But excellent play at times across three-quarters of the field set up a handful of opportunities that lacked the necessary final touch and placement — or in some instances, luck. Dom Dwyer should've placed a curling, right-footed shot in the back of the net in the 53rd minute. Instead, he opted to strike with his left, which fired right into the path of the Toronto FC keeper. Seventeen minutes later, Soony Saad made a conscious effort to cut into space atop the box. With a sly slide in that space, he laid the ball off to a wide-open Gerso, whose shot deflected off the fingertips of backup keeper Alexander Bono.

Defensively, Sporting KC managed to escape several emergency situations in the first half to preserve the scoreline. They also lucked out on a Sebastian Giovinco free kick that ricocheted off the crossbar. Peter Vermes looked to safeguard the backline and preserve the shutout midway through the second half, subbing in Soni Mustivar to play beside fellow defensive midfielder Ilie Sanchez.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Considering the string of starts to open the first month of the season, it's safe to say that Ilie Sanchez has more than grasped his duties in the defensive midfielder role. His presence wasn't as noticeable on Friday night, and his passing occasionally lacked the sharpness fans have quickly come to expect. But where he excelled against a potent Toronto FC attack was dropping back deep into his own half. His defensive work in the box was particularly important in keeping the match scoreless before the halftime break. He also connected with his wide players to kickstart the attack.

MUST-WATCH

GIF OF THE MATCH

UP NEXT 

Home against the Colorado Rapids on April 9.