If any sort of silver lining can be drawn from Sunday's 2-1 loss to Minnesota United FC in the Group D opener of the MLS is Back Tournament, it's the fact that Sporting Kansas City delivered a dominant first-half performance and won't have to wait long for the chance to bounce back.
That was the message conveyed by Sporting winger Gerso Fernandes, who joined Sports Radio 810 WHB today for an interview with The Zone host Jason Anderson. Gerso logged 73 minutes in the narrow defeat, which saw the Loons strike twice in second-half stoppage time to nab an unlikely win. All eyes are now on Friday's clash with the Colorado Rapids, which will air live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and Sports Radio 810 WHB at 7 p.m. CT.
"I already put it behind me, but it’s hard," Gerso said of the Minnesota match. "We are soccer players and we feel frustrated because we have been working so hard. We know how important the first game (is), and we know it’s important to get the three points to keep the momentum going. That’s soccer, and we’re just thinking (about) the next game against Colorado. That’s what we’re aiming for.
"The way that we dominated the game was clear, but at the end of the day, of course we didn’t get the three points. As the team that lost, we know what we did (wrong). We’ve got to finish our chances and we won’t be suffering again."
Among the setbacks in the late stages of Sunday's game was the ejection of goalkeeper Tim Melia, who received a straight red card in the 74th minute. His suspension on Friday paves the way for goalkeeping newcomer Richard Sanchez to make his first Sporting start. The 26-year-old Sanchez has nine years of professional experience under his belt, having joined the side last November after a three-season stint with Chicago Fire FC.
When asked if there was any trepidation about Sanchez starting, Gerso was quick to express belief in his teammate.
"Definitely not. Sporting brought Sanchez into (the team) because they knew he was a good goalkeeper and someone who can help the team," Gerso said. "If he plays on Friday, he has total confidence from everybody, and I think he feels that. No problem with Richard playing at all."
Despite the bitterness of falling to Minnesota, Gerso believes Sporting has what it takes to not only compete for the MLS is Back Tournament title, but contend for further silverware when the regular season resumes later this year.
"After last season, the owners and coaches worked hard to improve our squad. The players have been working hard so that what happened last year won’t happen this year," Gerso said, referring to a 2019 campaign in which Sporting missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years. "As Sporting Kansas City always does, the team is going to fight for championships. We want to be there, and I think we have a good team and the conditions for that."