It’s time to begin asking how strong Sporting Kansas City’s defense is in historic terms. Because we’re there now.
The team’s 1-0 win Wednesday over the Red Bulls in New Jersey marked the fifth consecutive shutout. The scoreless string for the Eastern Conference leaders thus reached 519 minutes, second most in club history and seventh longest in league history.
They certainly have the league’s top center back combo in Aurelien Collin and newly enshrined U.S. international Matt Besler. None other than Thierry Henry made the same proclamation in the run-up to Wednesday’s contest at Red Bull Arena.
Plus, right back Chance Myers and left back Seth Sinovic probably do not get the recognition they deserve – Collin, Besler and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen gobble up most of the defensive praise that falls around Sporting Park. There’s only so much of it to go around, after all.
Holding midfielder Oriol Rosell is a name you’ll begin hearing around the league more and more. Moving out of the MLS gates just a bit slowly, the Spaniard has found his feet, now holding the area steadfastly and acting reliably as SKC’s primary defensive distribution outlet.
Peter Vermes’ team travels to California for a weekend contest against the LA Galaxy this weekend; that will be another toughie, especially after traveling across the land to play a team that will have four extra days of rest.
But if they can hold the Galaxy scoreless for just 13 minutes, SKC will have the fifth longest streak of not allowing a goal in MLS history – and that’s big stuff.
Here’s what Brazilian veteran Juninho (who was very naughty last night) said after the match about SKC defense and its collective effort to get players behind the ball:
They are very quick to get behind the ball when they lose the ball. (I) feel that they are probably one of the better teams we have faced until now. It’s the team effort; they are collectively going behind the ball and moving as a unit offensively and defensively.
And here are the highlights from last night’s contest: