Atlanta United Grabs Points At The Death In KC

TORONTO, ONTARIO - DECEMBER 10: Soccer balls wait prior to action between the Seattle Sounders and the Toronto FC in the 2016 MLS Cup at BMO Field on December 10, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Seattle defeated Toronto in the 6th round of extra time penalty kicks. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - DECEMBER 10: Soccer balls wait prior to action between the Seattle Sounders and the Toronto FC in the 2016 MLS Cup at BMO Field on December 10, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Seattle defeated Toronto in the 6th round of extra time penalty kicks. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Here’s a question for you… Do you like pitcher’s duels or shootouts?

A matchup where it’s decided through athleticism or game planning and adjustments?

You, certainly got one over the other…

And it was the former over the latter…

The action occured in the middle of the pitch over the ends and two markedly different halves ended up with a shared result.

The line-ups were coming from two different directions

Peter Vermes put out this group for his matchup at home

A lot of big names in the 18 and not in the Starting XI while Atlanta United’s lineup was without Josef Martinez. That meant Tito Villalba up top and Mikey Ambrose in the line-up for the injured Greg Garza in the back.

We’re bypassing the first half for the sake of not wanting to take up unnecessary space.

You didn’t miss anything other than two of the best defenses in the league making sure nothing happened.

But, about the second 45

The 59th minute gave us this moment…

Sporting’s Benny Feilhaber knew what his side was getting into against Atlanta United:

"“I thought it was a pretty tight game, actually. I thought it was going to be more open. We worked hard and tirelessly for 90 minutes and we were able to get the goal. We should have put the game away with at least one more, but unfortunately we didn’t do that and we weren’t able to preserve the shutout. it’s disappointing at the end to give up a goal like that. it’s obviously a soft goal to some extent unlucky with the way it bounced around and fell to Jacob. That’s what happens when you allow a team to stay in the game at 1-0 and that’s a possibility that can always happen at the end of the game.”"

And, then, there was irony

In one of those moments that can only be described in that manner, Tata Martino subbed out for Jacob Peterson. His return was bittersweet- every indication being that he thought he still had more to give Sporting.

Peterson had more to give Sporting, all right…

"“It was late in the game. It was a moment that fell to me,” Peterson admits. “Ya know if I missed that, these guys in here would have given me a hard time. It’s something that I have a lot of respect for this club. I really enjoyed my time here and I think just out of respect for the club and the fans it wasn’t appropriate for me to celebrate.”"

Head coach Tata Martino knew what it meant for Peterson to score in his first match in four months:

"“It’s not only good to have him back, but it was good that he was able to score tonight. He gives us a lot of motivation, a lot of will and sometimes in games like tonight, that is what a team needs.”"

Sporting head coach Peter Vermes, obviously, wanted two more points by the end of the night:

"“The frustration is that I thought we played very well against I think a very good team. Being a first-year expansion team, I think they’re organized, I think they move the ball well, they’ve got some very dangerous individual players. I love the fact that they tried to come in here and play, it was an entertaining match for everybody who came to watch it. I thought that we had the game under control, for sure. The fact that we gave up a goal like that at the end of the game, which all your doing is lumping a ball into the box and you’re hoping that it falls down just like it did, there’s a little bit of commotion, somebody pops out, the ball comes around and somebody sticks it in the back of the net. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened and we weren’t ready for it. At the end we weren’t good enough to close the game out tonight, that’s the frustration.”"

Vermes’ goalkeeper, Tim Melia, seconded the notion put forth by his leader on the touchline:

"“I think this game feels like a loss, but we were organized defensively. We took a team that is very aggressive and connects very well in their front three or four and we shut them down the whole game. We didn’t give them a lot of opportunities. I think it is something that has kind of been nagging at us all season. Maybe we have dropped our guard at the last second and gotten a little bit unlucky. We are not where we should be in the standings because of some points we have given up and we need to correct that now. This game is over with and we need to correct that now.”"

So, it’s shared points and frustration at ref Chris Penso for sticking to his M.O. of cards before whistling fouls. Yellow card accumulation will be the way going forward for Atlanta United fans as they figure out who is close to sitting out matches for having cards displayed after foul calls.

Sporting stays at the top in the Western Conference- three points better than FOUR TEAMS (37-34) in Houston,  FC Dallas, Seattle, and Portland. Atlanta United is 5th in the East at 35 points- one winless than Red Bulls for the tie-breaker.


Shots: 14-7 Sporting KC

Shots on Target: 3-2 Sporting KC

Corner kicks: 3-1 Sporting KC

Fouls committed: 20-10 Atlanta

Saves: 2-1 Atlanta

Clearances: 16-15 Sporting KC

Offside: 6-3 Sporting KC

Possession: 54-46 Sporting KC

Passing Accuracy: 79-75 Sporting KC

One Final Thing…

The match ended with a tete-a-tete between Martino and Vermes on the touch line

“I said Kansas City was a really good team and Atlanta was a really good team,” Martino told the AJC’s Doug Roberson. See for yourself…

No, Multiplex does NOT feel bar-b-que was discussed…

Vermes now has to get is side ready for an Open Cup semi. Atlanta United has to get two people healthy before the action in two week’s time- Martinez and Garza. The continued growth on the pitch of Brandon Vazquez along with a healthy Jacob Peterson only adds to options going forward.

Atlanta United fans, what do you think about the point taken in Kansas City…?

Log in below and let us know what you think about the weekend in the Comments Section…