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Three takeaways from Sporting KC’s 3-0 loss to Atlanta United

May 5, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) allows a goal against Atlanta United during the second half at Children s Mercy Park. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Sporting Kansas City is now on a seven-game winless streak after a 3-0 loss to Atlanta United Sunday. Here are three things we learned from the loss:

This is a team losing confidence

When Sporting KC took down Montreal 7-1 on March 30, it seemed like it was an obvious team to beat in MLS. Then Kansas City got dragged through April, failing to win any of its MLS matches, and getting blasted by Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League semifinals.

It’s been a rough stretch, with SKC on a seven-match winless skid. Not only that, but for a team traditionally (at least recently) at the top of MLS defensive categories, 11 MLS goals allowed in April was even worse.

“I still submit that even the (Atlanta) goals today, they weren’t anything special,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said after the match Sunday. “They were more things that we didn’t do. That’s what happens to you when you lose confidence and you don’t have a lot of players on the field that have been through this stuff before.”

SKC could stand to gain some ground in the transfer window

It’s not like SKC doesn’t have players capable of vaulting the team to the top of the Western Conference standings. It’s just that a huge swath of them are battling long-term injuries that will stretch into the summer.

So no, SKC’s roster isn’t in particularly dire need of new names. But if the team hopes to limit the damage of their regular starters’ absences, it could benefit by finding some temporary fixes during the MLS transfer window.

Ilie Sanchez isn’t as healthy as his minutes suggest

Sanchez was one of several starters not in the XI on Sunday. But he did sub on in the second half (as he did last week against New England). Despite the fact that he’s getting minutes, the central midfielder is still apparently slogging uphill injury-wise.

One of SKC’s steadiest presences in the midfield, Sanchez didn’t practice a single day this week – but was still called on when Kansas City found itself down 2-0 to Atlanta.

“At the end of the day, I shouldn’t have even played him,” Vermes said.

How Sanchez is able to heal, especially when still having to venture into games instead of resting, will be a big question for SKC moving forward.

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