Sporting KC opened their 2020 account with a convincing 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday night. Here are four things we learned.
Following a disastrous 2019 campaign, Sporting Kansas City have already notched their first road win of the season, knocking off the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night. Mexican signing Alan Pulido opened his account in MLS after 16 minutes with a header placed off the post and in after Roberto Puncec knocked the aerial ball towards SKC’s record-breaking signing.
Vancouver found the equalizer from a rare attack after 28 minutes due to poor defensive work from Graham Zusi after David Milinkovic overpowered Zusi and centered the ball for Jakob Nerwiski to tap in inside the six-yard box. But Sporting KC had quite the answer after a terrific strike from Gadi Kinda handed them the lead again before former Whitecap Erik Hurtado made it 3-1 for the visitors when he smashed home from the edge of the six-yard box after good work from Gerso Fernandes.
Here are four things we learned from Sporting KC’s delightful start to the season.
4. New signings impress
It is safe to say that Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Roberto Puncec, and Khiry Shelton all played well in a new-look Sporting KC. It wasn’t just Pulido’s intelligent header and Kinda’s first-rate strike either. The work-rate of each new acquisition was superb.
It was very easy to see why Peter Vermes spent the money on Pulido. The former Chivas Guadalajara forward was constantly putting in the defensive work and chasing down defenders. He left every ounce of energy on the pitch. Certainly a team-first mindset, Pulido was also crucial in keeping possession later in the game by dropping deeper and acting as another outlet for the midfield.
As far as Kinda is concerned, he was the most impressive player on the pitch. Without knowing much about the Ethiopian-born Kinda, he got off to an interesting start by picking up a yellow card inside the first three minutes, but he quickly proved himself to be a player of real quality before exclaiming that with his terrific goal before half-time.
Croatian central defender Puncec had a very solid debut. His only moment of question was his chemistry with Tim Melia, which will gradually improve the more they play with each other. Other than his assist, Puncec had a very quiet match, which is always good as a defender. He seemed to always be in the right position and had good speed.
Khiry Shelton didn’t show us anything that SKC hasn’t already seen in 2018. He was always looking to set up a goal, was an integral part in killing off the game, and worked his hardest in deeper areas. The only complaint is that he needs to be looking to score once he reaches the final third, but he seems to insist on supplying the assist. Nevertheless, Shelton and the rest of newcomers all impressed here.