Mar 4, 2018; Kansas City, KS, USA; New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez (10) and New York City FC defender Ben Sweat (2) and New York City FC midfielder Jesus Medina (19) celebrate after a goal against Sporting Kansas City during the first half at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports
Here are three things we learned from Sporting Kansas City’s 2-0 loss to New York City FC.
It’s going to take a while for this offense to gel
This is probably something most could expect, but Sporting’s first game of the season was a great illustration of why the Kansas City offense needs time. Passes went flying into open space with no Sporting jerseys nearby. Connections were missed. Communication seemed off. And, of course, there were no goals. Kansas City lost 2-0 despite generating 18 shots. Only three of those were on goal.
It’s an offense that has several new faces – Johnny Russell, Yohan Croizet, Felipe Gutierrez — and it’s obvious they need more time together to mesh.
Tim Melia is not bulletproof
After a stellar year last season that ended in MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors, Sporting keeper Tim Melia started off rusty Sunday. His back line wasn’t as strong as the team is used to, making a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes that led to chances, and Melia couldn’t stop the two most dangerous ones.
He led the league last year in goals-against average (0.78), and expectations are high. But even those with as many accolades as Melia does can have off nights.
Sporting needs a scorer
It was no secret that Sporting head coach and technical director Peter Vermes spent most of the offseason on the hunt for a starting striker. The team lost Dom Dwyer in the middle of last year, and has since been without a go-to scorer. Sporting’s 2-0 loss on Sunday showed how much the team needs a bona fide creator leading its offensive attack: Even when the team’s attack did break away from New York, it didn’t always look like they had a plan.
And Diego Rubio, who started Sunday at striker and was subbed out in the second half, struggled to find room to create.
“I think in the first half they did a good job of stepping their line up really quickly,” Vermes said of New York’s defense. “It was limiting the space that he (Rubio) had, and I also don’t think we were getting out from a defensive posture.”