The difference between MLS clubs and the ones from the Mexican Liga MX is still too big. Last night’s match between Sporting Kansas City and Monterrey is the best possible example for that. In the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, the guests from Mexico once again scored five goals, only this time, their win wasn’t that big like in the first clash.
It was 2-5.
Peter Vermes, SKC’s coach spoke about those differences after the game, saying that his team was just too soft for the Mexicas side.
“I think we were in the game other than that we gave up two very soft goals early. That was the difference in the game for sure.”
The 52-year-old added that his boys began retreating as soon as Monterrey netted their opening goals. It is something he didn’t like but had no idea how to fix.
“After the first goal went in, you could see that we were deflated.”
There weren’t many who believed that Sporting could reach the deficit from the first match. Just a few soccer clubs in history managed to come back from being 5-0 down. But when Gerso scored the opening goal after 6 minutes, Children’s Mercy Park became a bit louder and more positive place.
But that lasted only 15 minutes, when Rogelio Funes Mori tied the result. SKC managed to score one more goal in the 29th minute, but that lead too didn’t last long.
It was Rodolfo Pizarro who netted the equalizer 10 minutes after. Vermes was furious at his players for allowing the guests to score easy goals, which eventually killed the morale of the home team.
“We gave away soft goals there and we gave away soft goals here tonight. The first two were just ridiculous.”
— Sporting KC on Fanly (@fanly_sporting) April 12, 2019
What definitely sealed the fate of Sporting in this event was a missed penalty in the last seconds of the first half. Ilie Sanchez’s shot hit the crossbar after a powerful kick, and Monterrey survived the first half without trailing.
This must have affected the boys from Kansas, as they completely collapsed in the second 45 minutes, allowing the guests from Monterrey to do what they want on the pitch.
The Mexican scored three more goals, one of them after a world-class strike by Miguel Layun in the 61st minute. The experienced midfielder and a national team member hit the objective from some 32 yards.
After that Aviles Hurtado and Funes Mori, with his second goal of the match, showed the difference between the two sides, which could have been even bigger.
The best player in the home team, Gerso spoke about the game after it ended, saying that his team gave everything, but that it simply wasn’t enough to win or to even compete at the same level with Monterrey.
“We tried everything we could to score as soon as possible. We did. But after that, we conceded a goal, and it was difficult for us,” Gerso explained.
The 28-year old has been struggling with his performances in the MLS, but against Monterrey, he managed to score twice. In the Champions League Gerso scored three times and had one assist. Coach Vermes saw him as one of the few bright spots in last night’s match, and issued a few praises on his account.
“He’s been working hard. He’s played very well. He’s got a good mentality. He came in fit this year. All those things are the reasons why he has played so well as we started this year. ”
Mexico-Panama-Mexico and everything in between. Thank you for supporting us on this crazy journey, Kansas City.
— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) April 12, 2019
There is no time for Sporting to think too much about the elimination from this competition, as they already have another challenge this Sunday. The New York Red Bulls are coming to town. NYRB didn’t start the season very well, and after five rounds have only four points.
It could be an excellent chance for SKC to bounce back and improve their position in the West. Currently, Sporting is 7th with 8 points, twice as half as the leaders LA Galaxy have.
This isn’t going to be just another game for coach Vermes, because he sees it as a test for the players, to show whether they have enough character.
“They’re going to have to show that they have something inside them,” he said.
The game starts at 7 PM ET.