by Brian Turrel
Sporting Kansas City’s injury-stricken line-up continued to struggle, dropping Friday night’s home game against Atlanta United 3-0.
Unable to field a full roster for the game, head coach Peter Vermes went to his reserves in key positions in the back and midfield.
Sporting had a couple high-quality chances early. Graham Zusi’s shot curled just wide in the 2nd minute, and Krisztian Nemeth missed a header wide in the 12th minute off a corner kick.
Atlanta controlled the half after that point, directing a barrage of shots against Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia, and finally breaking through in the 39th minute on a rebound goal by Josef Martinez.
Atlanta padded its lead just after the halftime break, getting a goal from Ezequiel Barco in the 47th minute off a failed clearance.
The visitors were mostly content to slow the pace after their second goal, but seized a final opportunity in the 76th minute for another goal by Martinez for the final margin.
Sporting desperately missed Ilie Sanchez’s ability to maintain possession in the middle third of the field, and coach Peter Vermes brought him into the game in the 65th minute.
Sanchez has been nursing a calf injury, and Vermes admitted after the game, “I shouldn’t have even played him tonight. He didn’t train all week. He didn’t train one day. But, you know, we needed something else to give us a little push forward.”
Adding to the team’s offensive struggles, the timing between the team’s midfield and forwards was noticeably off, resulting in several forward passes rolling harmlessly out of bounds or getting picked off by defenders.
The loss ended Kansas City’s 10-game streak without a home loss. Sporting KC will play against D.C. United on the road on May 12, and then return home for a game against Vancouver on May 18.