May 27, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT
Two slumping teams took points out of Sporting Park on Tuesday, but in a match that was nearly a textbook game of two halves, neither team may be entirely happy with the result. Left drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes, Kansas City and New York — the top two finishers in last year’s Eastern Conference regular season — each snared a valuable point, but with one team failing to defend home turf, the other drawing against a depleted host, both may rue the lost opportunity to take advantage of a potential playoff foe.
After 45 minutes in Kansas, New York looked willing to help Sporting through its late spring woes. The defending MLS champions, without its two best players and with mounting injury woes, were winless in three ahead of the Red Bulls’ visit, a streak that was in danger of being snapped after Toni’s ninth minute goal. Somehow, despite the absences of Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Chance Myers and Oriol Rosell, New York was managing to make Sporting look like their former selves.
With an early second half goal, however, Bradley Wright-Phillips (pictured, showed that the likes of Igor Julião where capable of keeping New York close. Three feet behind the rest of his defense on a Thierry Henry through ball, Julião allowed Wright-Phillips’s 11th of the season to retake MLS’s goal-scoring lead, paving the way for the second chapter in a tale of two halves. Though Sporting regained control over the match’s final 10-12 minutes, the Red Bulls eventually saw seeing out the draw, snapping their three-game losing streak in the process.
In light of the comeback, it will be tempting for New York to forget the first half, not that it necessarily should. With left back Roy Miller away at the World Cup, head coach Mike Petke seems unable to try Bobby Convey in central midfield again, leaving him hamstrung partnering Eric Alexander with Dax McCarty. Each time he does that, however, the gap between McCarty and Henry only seems to grow. Tonight, a Sporting team with a patchwork defense kept their opponents from consistently cracking it by being better in the middle, even though Alexander had one of his better games this month.
Péguy Luyindula played the last 33 minutes, giving Petke another potential, returning option. Without him, a clicking Tim Cahill (which we haven’t seen this year), or that midfielder Petke wanted in the offseason, New York can’t take advantage of opportunities like tonight’s. It’s also unclear that can reach last year’s heights given more competition at the top of the Eastern Conference.
As for Sporting, the match gets them one game closer to the end of this run. Given the injuries and absences Peter Vermes is facing, all he can do is stay above water until July. Then, when his leaders come back, he can figure out how exactly his team is going to defend its title.
Jul 29, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT(Edit)
Borussia Dortmund star turns down new deal, alerts European giants.
Jul 29, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT(Edit)
England youngster told he’s “not fit enough” and ordered to train on his own by van Gaal. Ouch.
Jul 28, 2014, 11:07 PM EDT(Edit)
A terrible move could get worse if Chelsea can’t move the Spanish striker.
Jul 28, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT(Edit)
Belgian international intends to stay at White Hart Lane, with a new, five-year deal on the table.
Jul 28, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT(Edit)
Napoli, Borussia Dortmund linked to the potential United castoffs.
Jul 28, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT(Edit)
Colombian international expected to play Saturday against Valencia.
Jul 28, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT(Edit)
Time in the NASL will give the 24-year-old needed minutes.
Jul 28, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT(Edit)
Brazilian’s injury testing United’s depth on the right side.
Jul 28, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT(Edit)
U.S. international’s knee surgery will sideline him for “several weeks.”
Jul 28, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT(Edit)
Two Saints look to follow their former manager to North London.
Jul 28, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT(Edit)
Timber’s game-winning goal in Montréal separated him from a tight field.
Jul 28, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT(Edit)
After two on-pitch selfie’s occur with players over the weekend, security needs to be stepped up.
Jul 28, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT(Edit)
Could Neymar represent Brazil at the 2016 Olympics in Rio?
Jul 28, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT(Edit)
Besic, 21, has signed a five-year deal with the Toffees.
Jul 28, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT(Edit)
Bale smashes in an absolute beauty from distance. Check it out, here.
Jul 28, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT(Edit)
After selling over $170 million of talent so far this summer, what are Saints playing at?
Jul 28, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT(Edit)
Boyd out after injury in Queens Park Rangers friendly.
Jul 28, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT(Edit)
Arsenal splash the cash to sign 19-year-old Southampton academy graduate.
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