After Wednesday's disappointing midweek home draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sporting Kansas City won't have much bounce-back time before traveling to Chicago to take on the league's hottest team.
The players have taken the Fourth of July off, but then will spend two days preparing for Sunday's match against a Fire side that is unbeaten in nine straight across all competitions. Inspired by recently acquired forward Mike Magee, they pulled off another dramatic win, 3-2, over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.
The good news, goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen said, is that Sporting were more unlucky than lackluster against the Whitecaps.
“I think we just need to continue what we're doing,” Nielsen told reporters after Wednesday night's 1-1 draw, which saw Sporting take a 1-0 lead through Aurelien Collin and then concede Camilo's free-kick equalizer in the dying moments of the first half. “We put in a great effort [on Wednesday]. We kept chasing and chasing for the three points and it just wasn't our day to get the three points. A little unlucky in a few situations, but overall it was a decent performance.”
Sporting outshot the visitors 25-10 on Wednesday night, with a 7-3 edge on corner kicks, but struggled to find a final connection in the area all night and put only three attempts on frame.
“We had a lot of good actions going towards goal,” manager Peter Vermes said in his postmatch news conference, “but I thought we were a little impatient. We could have moved the ball around just a little bit more at times and found some guys who were clearly open, who had better chances and had better percentage shots, if you will.”
That's a simple enough fix, said forward Dom Dwyer, who came on as a second-half sub forClaudio Bieler.
“We just need better quality in the final third and to keep working,” said Dwyer, who set a USL PRO record with 15 goals during his loan to Orlando City SC before his recall. “We’re a good team and if we play to our strengths, we’ll win the game.”