Thursday, June 06, 2013

A Look at Sporting's Home Form

We're just about half way through the MLS season for Sporting KC, and just about half way through their slate of 17 home games.  Unfortunately for Kansas City it hasn't been the home season that many were expecting.  Sporting KC has a 3-3-2 (W-L-D) record at home this season and have won just one of their last 4 home games. The three losses matches a record for losses at home for Kansas City at the new stadium since it opened. And KC still has 9 more games before the end of the season.

Since the opening of the stadium, Sporting Park has been considered one of the toughest places for an opposing team to come play.  Opponent after opponent has come to Kansas City and talked up the atmosphere at the stadium talking about what a difficult place it is to play.  And it's been seen in the way that teams come to Kansas City and play.  For the most part over the past few years teams have come in and sat back, looking to kill the game off and limit Kansas City's chances.  Up until recently when Portland, Houston, and Montreal have shown how teams can come in and play more their style against KC.

But really has Sporting Park been one of the toughest places in the league to play? Sure there's a fantastic atmosphere that the opposing team has to deal with, but is it that hard to come in and get results? The stats don't totally back it up.  Since Sporting Park opened in 2011, Kansas City is tied for the 7th best home record (in points per game), tied with FC Dallas at 1.86 points per game.  KC has a record of 22-8-12 record since the start of the 2011 season.

Ahead of Sporting KC is Montreal (2.13), LA (2.12), Houston (2.1), Salt Lake (2.02), New York (1.93), and Seattle (1.9). It could certainly be worse for KC, they could be Chivas (.95) or Toronto (1.07). But as a whole Sporting Park isn't the fortress that it's been made out to be by people.

The other thing with that is worrisome is Sporting's struggles at home vs how things look historically for the team. Through 8 games, Sporting has picked up a total of 11 points in those games.  In KC's history, Sporting has never made the playoffs when having picked up less than 13 points through their first 8 home games.  Currently Sporting KC occupy the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, just 3 points ahead of New England, who have two games in hand on Sporting KC.  Sporting's home form has to improve the rest of the season if Sporting is going to get something out of this season.  Especially with further schedule congestion coming.

Here's a look at the first 8 games throughout KC's history, the record, points earned, and goals scored vs conceded. Ones with stars are playoff years.

2013 - 3-3-2 - 11 - 11-7
2012 - 6-2-0 - 18 - 11-5*
2011 - 4-0-4 - 16 - 12-6*
2010 - 3-4-1 - 10 - 10-8
2009 - 3-3-2 - 11 - 10-9
2008 - 4-2-2 - 14 - 9-9*
2007 - 4-3-1 - 13 - 10-7*
2006 - 3-3-2 - 11 - 12-13
2005 - 5-1-2 - 17 - 15-10
2004 - 5-1-2 - 17 - 15-6*
2003 - 5-1-2 - 17 - 21-13*
2002 - 5-1-2 - 17 - 15-9*
2001 - 5-2-1 - 16 - 11-14*
2000 - 7-0-1 - 21 - 16-3*
1999 - 3-5 -  9  - 13-10
1998 - 5-3 - 13 - 7-6
1997 - 6-2 - 16 - 20-12*
1996 - 6-2 - 18 - 24-14*

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

Sunday ruminations.

Vermes thinks that pressure comes from having a player quickly defense the opposition: the forced error returns the ball.

In fact, pressure comes from possession and quick passing: the forced error provides scoring chances.

PV does a decent job with his starting XI. My problem is the role that they are asked to play.

Like you, I'd like to see Kamara or Sapong in the middle underneath Bieler even within the 4-3-3.(Zusi and Peterson on the wings.)

And if that is too much to ask, I'd at least like to see Nagamura and Rosell play closer to each other when SKC have the ball. When the opponent has the ball, Nagamura could quickly close them down because the ball will be in front of him. At the point, could be Feilhaber, Joseph, Peterson, Zusi, Sapong, or Kamara to hopefully provide service to Bieler's feet.

As is, it feels like the team is ceding the middle in virtually every game and therefore "chances" come from the ball flying over the box as opposed to being played within it. Also, once the ball gets past Nagamura the other team has space to get into SKC's half which forces our backs and wings to make full recovery runs.

By moving Nagamura backwards, you'd counter-intuitively move the containment line higher and reduce the number of reps that the wings and backs have to make.

Anyways, frustration.