Sporting Kansas City dominated Chicago Saturday but was unable come away with a win as the two teams played to a scoreless draw. “We are disappointed in the fact that we didn't get three points but can’t by any means be disappointed in the performance of the team,” Sporting KC Mnager Peter Vermes stated in the post-game press conference. “The performance of the team was fantastic. From the onset I thought our tempo and our rhythm of the game was very high, and look when you have 75 percent possession throughout the course of the game and we were going with speed at times when we had to. There’s nothing you can do when a team drops nine guys within a 24-yard space.”
Chicago came to Sporting Park having not scored a goal this year and with the clear intent to make it as difficult for Sporting KC to score as possible. The stats overwhelmingly favored the home team. Sporting KC held possession 72.9%, had a passing accuracy of 82.1% to Chicago’s 59.3% and out shot the Fire 20 -7.
The problem was the same as it was for Sporting KC too many times last year, visiting teams know they cannot match the intensity and speed of Vermes’ squad so they park the bus in front of goal. Chicago frequently had all but one player within 20 yards of the goal to clog up the offense and limit quality shots.
“It’s a tactic. I can’t fault anyone for doing it. They do it, that’s the way they play. Obviously that’s not our style. As I said, I think you’re playing with fire…no pun intended,” Vermes laughed. “I think at some point you’re going to give something up and they did. They gave up a couple opportunities here and there and their goal keeper came up with a good save and we were a little off the mark but at the end, at some point it’s going to happen.”
In the off season, Vermes had adapted his team to be better able to handle the teams that come to Sporting Park and bunker. He traded for Benny Feilhaber’s and his passing ability is supposed to help unlock the defense. Graham Zusi moved up top as he did part of last season to help generate better quality passing through and they signed Designated Player Claudio Bieler to finish those chances.
“It is frustrating at times but it is something that we are used to, a lot of teams do it here,” Zusi explained. “At the end of the day we need to create more chances.”
“Our possession was fine today, but creating more quality chances, we had quite a few half chances but creating those chances where you are in behind the defense needs to happen a little bit more,” Zusi continued. “Our movement off the ball needs to improve a bit, that’s a big one.”