Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (SKC Recap)

March 19, 2017

Two straight wins let the Quakes dream for a moment, then reality set in after a visit to Children’s Mercy Park. San Jose suffered its first loss of the season in dismal fashion.

It was a tale of two halves. After the first 45′, San Jose had just one shot by Marco Urena. Sporting KC had eight shots, three of which were on frame, including Benny Feilhaber’s golazo at 37′. Sporting KC also had opportunites to score at 18′ and 39′, but were unable to convert their open chances.

The Quakes managed just two unblocked shots inside the 18, both during stoppage time

The Quakes attempted to muster an attack during the second half. San Jose dominated possession, but Sporting KC’s defense was resilient, limiting the Quakes to just two shots from well beyond the penalty area. Ironically San Jose was its most potent after Bingham’s own-goal at 89′ which put the team down 2-0. Sporting KC defense relaxed just enough to allow San Jose to salvage two more shots inside the penalty area, including Flo Jungwirth’s first MLS goal at 90+1′ off a midfield set piece; Flo’s goal was the first conceded by Kansas City all season. Simon Dawkins also managed a good go at 90+2′ off a brilliant Jungwirth header on a corner opportunity, but saw his shot saved by Melia.

Wondo’s heat map versus Sporting KC. That’s a lot of time in the middle and defensive third of the pitch.

A number of Quakes had games worthy of amnesia. Offensively, Jahmir Hyka was limited to 31 touches and one cross after 60 minutes. Dawkins had 20 touches in the first half, and managed to finish with 46 touches, zero crosses, and zero key passes. Captain Chris Wondolowski, who appeared to be playing more as a midfielder than a forward, managed 36 touches and one shot. (Didn’t we give up on the Wondo-at-mid experiment?) Tommy played 14 minutes, and touched the ball twice. The only player that seemed to contribute to the attack was Shea Salinas, who managed 26 touches and three crosses during his 30 minutes on the pitch.

Defensively, the Quakes weren’t much better. Sporting Kansas City exploited Victor Bernardez on a number of opportunities while he attempted to employ the high press. Muma was beaten by Dwyer at 2′, which could (should?) have been a penalty when Flo had to track back after the miscue; Dwyer was served a yellow for simulation, even though clear contact was made. Muma again was caught way out of position at 18′ on a Sporing KC counter which saw Feilhaber’s shot with only Bingham to beat sail wide. And at 57′, he allowed a through-ball to get to Dwyer, which was pushed wide of the far post.

Yet despite all these poor performances, Bingham probably had the worst. His feet appeared cemented as Feilhaber’s shot sailed over his head to the far post. At 48′, he allowed a bad rebound off a Gerso dribbler, did little to communicate with Fatai Alashe who cleared the ball, and then yelled at Fatai after the clearance (which is Fatai’s job). At 54′, Bingham was dispossessed by Dom Dwyer despite having more than enough time to clear it on pass from Shaun Francis, setting up a potential scoring chance by Dwyer–fortunately Bernardez was able to clear it. And of course, there was the own-goal which went right through his legs and turned out to be the game winner. The tragedy is that despite all the poor performances, the Quakes might have mustered a 1-1 draw if Bingham didn’t allow the late own-goal.

Clearly the Quakes have room for improvement. Fortunately there’s an international break to allow the team to regroup before their April 1st match in Yankee Stadium versus NYCFC.

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