Sporting Kansas City dismantled the San Jose Earthquakes; FC Dallas dropped points against the Columbus Crew. Sporting KC are making their move in the race for the West.
The top of the Western Conference is really beginning to hot up. While Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls continue their offensive on the Supporters’ Shield in the East, unlikely to be caught by any from the West, it has been a rip-roaring contest in the other conference.
Dallas have been the dominant team for large portions of the season in the West. They may have taken a little to get going and fell behind Kansas City early, but recently, this has been Dallas’ conference without any shadow of a doubt. Until now.
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The switch in positions comes in two starkly different games. Sporting KC travelled to the San Jose Earthquakes. This was a game that they were expected to win. And they did win. But they didn’t just win, they absolutely dismantled the lowly Earthquakes in a scintillating attacking performance. And all with Johnny Russell and the most efficient goalscorer in the whole of MLS sat on the bench.
Gerso Fernandes was phenomenal, his breathtaking pace and quality end product leading to two goals and two assists — one of his finishes was truly sumptuous, darting behind the San Jose defence, collecting a beautiful pass and chipping over the goalkeeper into the gaping net — and Felipe Gutierrez was excellent at the heart of the team, scoring the opening goal and providing the aforementioned assist for Fernandes’ first. This was KC at their very best, bar a 15-minute period early in the second half before they added a fourth goal to completely kill the game.
FC Dallas, on the other hand, were insipid in attack, stingy in defence, it must be said, but overall lacking creativity and ingenuity in the midfield and attacking phases. When it comes to playing the best teams, of which their opponents, the Columbus Crew, are, scoring goals is absolutely vital. Of these two Western rivals, there is only one that looks capable of doing so.
And so, after the weekend’s play, it’s Kansas City that sit atop the West by a slender point. Obviously, the title is not yet theirs. But this is a major move by Peter Vermes is so good at regular season success.
Whether this will lead to postseason joy or not remains to be seen, but KC are in wonderful form. Dallas not so, and that it significant.