Sporting did not look like the same team that had played five of the six previous games when they played at Colorado Sunday night. I say five of the six previous games because their game in Panama against CAI was a completely different lineup than the other games. Only three regulars started in that game and we questioned the approach in that one. Sunday night Sporting struggled to get much offense going but scored late to at least get a tie and take home a point.
Colorado was hoping to take advantage of a tired Sporting Kansas City who had played two MLS games and four games in the CONCACAF Champions League prior to Sunday’s game. Sporting looked like a different team, a team lacking their usual offensive attack and scoring opportunities. This game was primarily played in the middle third of the field making it one of the least exciting Sporting games so far this year.
Both goalies made mistakes that could have been huge. Colorado’s Tim Howard made a sloppy pass into the middle of the field that Roger Espinoza almost put into the net over Howard’s head. Sporting’s Tim Melia was looking to change direction on a pass back to him but the ball got away just enough for a charging former Sporting player Diego Rubio to get a foot on and give Colorado a 1-0 lead. This mistake by Melia cost Sporting two points, but Melia has earned Sporting many more points in the past making this a reminder that he is in fact human.
Sporting finally broke through for a goal in the 88th minute on a free kick by Johnny Russell that came about after a Colorado foul against Gianluca Busio. Russell played a beautiful shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Colorado’s goalie, Tim Howard, seemed to have alligator arms and pulled up, possibly thinking he was closer to the goal post than he was.
The tie moves Sporting to 1-1-1 in the early season. The club will be off until Saturday, March 30 when they will face Montreal at Children’s Mercy Park. The next couple of weeks are a FIFA international window for players to play qualifying games for their national team.