Sporting KC have been known as a defensive juggernaut. It’s been a hallmark of Peter Vermes' teams.
But the label of attacking juggernaut? It may not be ready to be awarded just yet, but they’re well on their way.
Sporting KC have the third-most goals in the league right now, with 28. Through their 14 games, that puts them at a two goals per game average. For comparison, in 2017, their goals per game rate was roughly 1.18. So is this a better attacking team? Vermes wasn’t ready to give them that crown yet, even if he acknowledged the attack was deeper than in past seasons.
“I would say yes. 100 percent. We have a deeper team,” Vermes said after their 4-1 win over Minnesota United on Sunday. “But, It’s getting tested right now. A few guys are coming up with some little injuries here and there, which I don’t think any of them are too serious, but they’ll probably keep them out for a couple games.”
Sporting KC were without Johnny Russell, who was on international duty with Scotland, and Khiry Shelton, who was injured. In addition, they are still without Felipe Gutierrez and Jimmy Medranda, while Yohan Croizet exited Sunday's match early with injury.
In those places, enter Gerso Fernandes, Cristian Lobato, and Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal. By the end of the night, Gerso was the only one who didn’t score, but he did play a big role in the match.
“Gerso was a handful all night for them,” said Vermes. “His speed and ability to eliminate players 1-v-1 was excellent. And when you’re able to put pressure on teams like that, especially in the final third, you start to create a lot of different chances in and around the box.”
Lobato got on the scoresheet with his second goal of the season, a predicted goal by Peter Vermes.
“I thought Lobo would score tonight,” Vermes said. “He has been great in the last couple days of training, and I figured something out over the last couple days. I figured something out about him and I hope it keeps going in an upward trajectory.”
Sporting KC have 12 different goalscorers on the year, and eight of them have bagged multiple goals. They aren’t known for rotating the squad a whole lot unless they absolutely have to. Right now, they’re being forced into it which means those stepping in for absent first teamers will have to step up.
“Now we’re going into a stretch of three games in seven days,” Vermes said. “But it’s also going to give some of these younger guys an opportunity to play, which is great for them.”