It was very hard to watch Saturday's game. Not only did Sporting Kansas City lose 4-0, they lost to a team that seemed to be beneath them in most aspects of the game. Now, some of the blame can be contributed to the fact that the team had played three games in seven days but it was apparent what the biggest problem was.
Without Matt Besler, Aurélien Collin somehow seems loses control of himself. He plays wildly and becomes more of a liability than an asset, so that takes him out of the game. Without those two to anchor the back line, we have results like we did on Saturday.
My opinion is that the back line is the most important of the three lines. With a good one, like what Sporting had during the beginning of the season, it's very easy to win. Is hard for the other team to score, and it's easier for the midfield and forwards to keep it if the back line is keeping the ball out of the back third of the pitch. With a bad back line, it's easier for the other team to score, and not as easy for the front two lines to keep the ball on the offensive.
When Sporting's back line was nearly impenetrable, it was easier to win. That's why Sporting was able to start 7-0-0. Now, without a very key part of the back line, the rest of the team is suffering as a whole. Without Besler there to anchor the back line and keep Collin in check, the defence suffers, and the team suffers.
Besler's injury and the recent results have made it painfully obvious that the biggest need of Sporting is defensive depth. To be more precise, the center-back depth really needs to be addressed.
Currently on the depth chart, there is Collin and Besler as first string, and then Olum and Warzycha follow them. To put it bluntly, Olum is only marginal as a defender and Warzycha did not impress when he was given the opportunity against Orlando City SC. In fact, he was a liability to the back line against the strikers of OCSC.
I do believe Warzycha should be given another opportunity to show that the OCSC match was just an anomaly, but the fact remains that the biggest need for Sporting is a reliable backup center-back who won't cause the back line to affect the rest of the team's play.
When someone goes down, there needs to be a reliable backup ready to step in and hold the fort down. Sporting has two excellent centerbacks right now, but they need someone reliable behind them. This is the first need that should be addressed by the front office if not this year, then next year for sure if they possibly add CONCACAF Champions League to their schedule.
Depth is one of the things that makes good teams great. For the sake of greatness for Sporting, depth, more precisely center-back depth, is a must. The transfer window will open up again today, and centerback depth needs to be first on the front office's list.
*The picture is expressive of my feelings every time i see a back-line blunder