Sporting KC remained a point ahead of the Houston Dynamo after the two teams fought to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon. However there is a lot of the schedule to take on including one more match between these two sides. The match yesterday raised some questions about the future strategies of Sporting going into the summer months.
1) Jacob Peterson is really coming along
Jacob Peterson is recovering very nicely from his injury last year and is starting to show off his speed. He outran Corey Ashe at one point during the match, a highly impressive feat. While he can't go the full match yet consistently, his contributions for the first sixty minutes or so have been really good for Sporting. Yesterday he played well the full match, which is a good sign for the Sporting attack. However, it begs the question of who should be the main guy on the wing with the good supply of wingers that Sporting has.
2) When is Kamara going to start?
Kamara came on in the match for Sporting KC in the 52nd minute for Peterson Joseph and played out of his mind. He scored his first goal of the year and really looked like we all thought he would be returning from England. However Kamara has now been back for four matches and has not started any of them. It's not like he's not match fit or below the level of the current wingers. I think Peter Vermes wants to keep conditioning Kamara to be more familiar with Bieler in the center and that more practice is needed before he will start Kamara.
3) Based on the lineup against Houston, what will the USOC lineup look like?
Tomorrow night Sporting Kansas City will take on PDL side the Des Moines Menace in the third round of the US Open Cup. This match calls for a lot of reserves to get some match time and preserve the starters for league matches. However Sunday's lineup featured some of the usual reserves such as Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara and Mechack Jerome. Vermes may decide to send out some of his normal starters such as Benny Feilhaber in Tuesday's match since they are on good rest.
4) Sporting is still unbeaten amongst the top Eastern teams
Sunday was the first time that Sporting Kansas City had not beaten a top five Eastern Conference team all year. They've picked up 13 points from wins against New York, Houston, Montreal and Philadelphia and, of course, Sunday's draw with the Dynamo. This string of success against the high flying teams in the Eastern Conference compared to their poor record against the bottom teams may suggest a difference in styles between the two sides of the table. When the bottom half of the table plays Sporting, many of them will sit back and hope for a draw, which has happened thrice this season. However the top teams have played Sporting normally with both sides going for the win. Sporting has been highly successful against this style which may suggest that Sporting really is the best team in the East despite their third place standing.
Or I may be completely delusional and reaching for a point. Who knows?
5) And speaking of the Eastern Conference...
Last week it was announced that Major League Soccer would be awarding it's 20th franchise to New York City. The new club, New York City FC, will undoubtedly play in the Eastern Conference which would put it at 11 teams compared to the West's nine. Someone will have to move West and that team may end up being Sporting Kansas City. Sporting has forged a couple of really nice rivalries in the East with Houston and sometimes Chicago and it would be a huge shame if we only got to see Sporting KC vs Houston once a year, provided MLS stays with the current schedule format. Houston may also be a candidate to move, which would throw another wrench into the rivalry. So cherish the matches Sporting KC has with Houston the next couple of years, there may be fewer come 2015.