Sporting Kansas City Shows Dominance on the Pitch
“A massive three points for us,” said Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes
It was an exciting night in Kansas City as Sporting Kansas City (14-7-6, 48 points) earned vital points with an important win against Orlando City (7-17-3, 24 points) and moves within a point of first place in the MLS Western Conference.
Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez scored the game-winner in the 53rd minute, his sixth goal of the season, as Sporting KC leapfrogged Los Angeles Football Club for second place in the West and closed the gap on leaders FC Dallas. Yohan Croizet earned the assist,
Special Note: Goalkeeper Tim Melia posted his MLS-leading 12th shutout of 2018 and the 38th of his regular season career, taking sole possession of second-most in Sporting KC history. It was a special night for Melia
“I thought we played very well tonight,” said Vermes. “I thought we kept the ball. I thought we didn’t give all that much away – we were very good defensively and really disciplined. A lot of credit goes to the guys.”
Felipe Gutierrez was humble on scoring the goal. “Sometimes somebody has to score. Today, that was me,” said Gutierrez.
“It’s not all about the scorer. The performance of the team is most important for me.’
“I thought the way we managed the game was really great from the first half to the second half,” said Sporting KC’s Roger Espinoza. “We knew it was not going to be easy and we needed to be patient.”
During the press briefing after the match, Vermes complimented Yohan Croizet and said, “I think in the second half of the season, he’s adapted and acclimated himself really well. He’s starting to really find his way in the team, which is great. He’s very dangerous, as you can see. He was destroying them down the right side.”
Sporting KC has a great deal of depth on the bench, even with big-name players out. Sporting KC Academy player, Gianluca Busio, had his time on the pitch in the match, entering in the 86th minute and performed well. “Busio was really good in the game,” said Vermes. “He helped us big time.”
Matt Besler logged his 250th regular-season appearance in this match.
Orlando City SC Head Coach James O’Connor thought that his team needed to capitalize on the big moments and noted that the mentality of a match can be impacted by the halftime score.
What’s Up Next: Winners of five of their last six games, Sporting KC will return to action next Saturday when they visit Western Conference cellar dwellers San Jose Earthquakes (4-15-8, 20 points) at 9:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest Plus.