HOW IT PLAYED OUT
All things considered, Sporting Kansas City has had an answer for most of the question marks surrounding the team entering the season. Gerso has blossomed into a capable MLS winger after uncertainty out wide the year before. Graham Zusi has evolved into his formal right back role that appears to mold his tool set and the way Peter Vermes uses his fullbacks. All that, and Ilie has sured up both sides of the midfield, creating a more well-rounded attack that doesn't neglect the key space it opens up behind him.
However, one question that has formed through the first three-plus months of the season remains unanswered: when will Sporting KC start scoring goals on the road?
Zusi hoped to have an answer in the dying moments of Saturday's match. Dominating shots and possession, Zusi made a remarkably skilled run into the box four minutes into extra time, nutmegging a defender with pace inside the box. All perfect was the run besides the shot, which failed to have the curve or lift needed to evade Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham, though Bingham did come up big in the moment to get enough of a paw on it.
The result is another scoreless performance on the road, the club's seventh this season. In all, Sporting KC has scored just three (!) goals in nine road matches, spanning more than 810 minutes in all. One positive, though? The team has bagged seven road points in those nine matches — nothing to scoff at in this league.
Zusi's last minute near-heroics was about all the drama that transpired from the match, aside from a brief Twitter meltdown when the television feed failed a handful of times in the first half, resulting in FSKC switching over to poker. (More on that below). With 60 percent of the possession and 13 shots (4 on target), not to mention nearly 200 more passes, Sporting KC will be frustrated not to have gotten more Saturday, but such has been the story on the road this season.
But back to that first-half drama: If you're like me and watched the game on television, you missed about 10 minutes of the first half due to technical difficulties. In place of the game, we got to watch Dickie Malone play a couple hands of poker, which is cool and all, but here's what I can only assume happened during those 10 minutes:
- Dom Dwyer made someone mad and grinned while doing so
- Roger Espinoza took a shot from outside the box that left orbit and hit Eddie Johnson's PK from 2012 before crashing into the sun
- Peter Vermes looked at the fourth official and possessed his body like something off of "Supernatural" with Sam and Dean Winchester
- Ike Opara fell down in a way that mimicked both a 15-car pile up and newborn deer attempting to walk
Whether any of those actually happened, we'll never know. The only other real noteworthy talking point on Saturday not mentioned yet was the substitution that brought on Jimmy Medranda. Whatever your thoughts are relating to Medranda, more often than not he's a lightning rod and a positive force on both sides of the ball, even if he isn't always polished. Within a minute of coming on Saturday, Medranda played a pin-point ball into space for Gerso, then threatened with a curling effort after his energized play resulted in excellent combo play in a dangerous spot on the field.
MAN OF THE MATCH
No one player stood out on Saturday. The center backs were solid across the back line. Seth Sinovic and Zusi were active high up the field. Roger Espinoza was aggressive in the final third. All this to say, handing out a man of the match is basically pointless, so let's give out an honorary man of the match to Diego Rubio who returned from a torn ACL, his first action since last October. Rubio only made two passes after coming on in the 76th minute, but did have a late clearance to help preserve the road point.
"It was just me and the goalie, and I can't believe I didn't finish that," Zusi said after the match. "I let the team down ... I think we should've rewarded ourselves today."
GIF OF THE MATCH
Away to the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday, June 27 at 9:30 p.m.