While yesterday's game didn't turn out to be Sporting KC's Peter Vermes' 100th win in all competitions like I'd originally said, I thought this would be a good thing to look at in this week's Throw Back Thursday. With Vermes just one win away I thought we'd take a look at Vermes' first win as head coach of the then KC Wizards.
It's funny and would have been amazingly poetic if last night had been Vermes' 100th win as Sporting played the exact same opponent, the New England Revolution, that Vermes got his first win against back in 2009. Not only was it the same opponent, but the game finished with the same score as last night's game, 4-2 in favor of KC.
Vermes had been in charge of the Wizards for three games heading into a game at Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution on September 5th, 2009, having taken over as the head coach after firing Curt Onalfo after the 6-0 thrashing in Dallas on August 1st of that year. In the three games he'd been in charge KC was 0-3 and had yet to score a goal. In fact, KC had not won in seven league games since a 3-1 win at home against the same Revolution on June 13th. Add in three SuperLiga games where KC went 0-1-2 and two US Open Cup games where KC went 0-1-1 (advancing on PKs over Minnesota) KC was actually 12 games without a win. KC had scored just one goal since that win over the Revolution, a midfield blast from Claudio Lopez in a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy. Heading into the game against the Revolution, KC had gone 424 minutes without scoring a goal. The team record for a single season was 427 set in 2000, so if KC didn't score in the first three minutes they'd set a new team record. (You can read more of the stats from that horrible winless run in my old entry.)
Two players that started that game in 2009 actually started the game last night in KC, as Matt Besler started at center back with Jimmy Conrad and Brad Knighton started in goal for New England during his first stint with the Revs. Vermes' counterpart last night, Jay Heaps also played a role in the game, starting in the Revolution defense.
I'd mentioned that KC needed to score in the first three minutes to avoid setting a new single season scoreless record, well in the third minute, Josh Wolff muscled Darius Barnes off the ball as KC raced towards goal, Wolff tried to touch the ball away but it deflected into the middle for Lopez who made no mistake scoring to put KC on top in just the third minute and see the team only tie the record for longest single season goalless streak. KC caused plenty of early problems for New England, but the Revs withstood the early push and were able to create chances of their own. KC though caught a break in the 23rd minute when a heavy touch by Sharlie Joseph saw the ball get away from him and Jack Jewsbury step in to try to win it. Joseph came into the challenge with his studs showing and was sent off for his effort as KC was going to get to finish the game with a man advantage. It didn't take long for KC to take advantage of the man advantage, in the 29th, Wolff did a great job of dribbling through two Revolution defenders and before the ball crossed the end line played the ball back into the middle towards Davy Arnaud, but the ball was knocked into the Revolution's own net by their current coach, Heaps. KC went into the break up 2-0.
In the second half it was the Revolution who were able to cut into the lead first, with Edgaras Jankauskas hitting a fantastic volley from outside the box, over Kevin Hartman and into the net to make it 2-1 in the 64th minute. KC almost had the quick response as Lopez got in behind the Revolution defense, but Knighton came off his line well and blocked Lopez's effort. KC made it 3-2 in the 73rd, with Wolff again being involved and this time getting the goal that he deserved for his work on the night as Lopez played him into the box. Knighton was off his line well, but couldn't hold onto the ball and Wolff turned and fired the ball into the net to make it 3-1. The Revolution refused to go away though and in the 81st again brought the game within a goal as Sanna Nyassi played a good cross into the box where Kheli Dube beat Conrad to the ball and headed it past Hartman to make it 3-2. While New England pushed for the equalizer, it was KC that struck again to close the game off as Chance Myers received the ball out wide and played a curling ball to the back post that Wolff fired into the net to make it 4-2 in second half stoppage time as Vermes finally got his first win for KC.
It wouldn't be a pretty end to the season after that win though. KC would win just two of their remaining eight games and finish with just 33 points and ahead of only New York in the conference standings.
Here's how the lineup looked for the team that date and the highlights are below that.
Kevin Hartman, Matt Besler, Lance Watson, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Herculez Gomez (Chance Myers 63), Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Claudio Lopez (Graham Zusi 89), Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff (Zoltan Hercegfalvi 93+).