Down a goal at halftime Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting Kansas City put together one of its finest halves of the season, earning a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas.
“I just told the guys that you gotta go out in the second half and completely change your mentality,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said of his halftime talk.
For the first time in a long time, Sporting looked to be the aggressor in the attack. The combinations between Daniel Salloi and Logan Ndenbe were coming together, and a more inspired performance from Espinoza and Walter in the midfield was a major boost.
“I think we had good aggressiveness in the attack which is something we wanted to start off the game with,” Vermes said. “We wanted to try and get the first goal and get in a really good position.”
That they did. And some of that maybe was due to a pre-match conversation between Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi. So what did the former tell the latter?
“It’s about time we step up,” Russell said. “It’s all good talking, (but) we know we have to get to those standards of last year and help get us out of the situation we’re in. Because no one’s going to help us out. It’s gotta come from us. ”
Sporting KC had probably been hoping for a return of Gadi Kinda to help light a spark in the attack, and the initial timeline for his return had passed. As the club announced Friday, Kinda is out for the year, and the makeup of the roster as currently constructed is not changing until this summer.
“We realize that there’s lots of injuries,” Salloi said. “We can be the creative attacking players who have to get the goals and try to win the game. We have to step up in moments and I’m glad both of us could score. ”
Sporting KC (2-6-2) kicked off the scoring when Salloi was awarded a penalty because his legs were swept out from under him as he turned to shoot in the penalty area. Russell blasted the penalty kick past the Dallas goalkeeper in the 22nd minute.
Dallas would score two goals on incredible individual efforts to lead 2-1 at halftime. Nineteen-year-old Argentine prodigy Alan Velasco scored on a free kick taken at a tight angle, and US Men’s National Team striker Jesus Ferreira dribbled through the Sporting backline and curled one into the top corner.
While both goals showcased incredible finishes, Vermes lamented some of the things that took place in the buildup to those goals.
“The first goal shouldn’t happen because we shouldn’t foul in the situation that we did,” Vermes said. “The second goal, not all of our line, but part of our line is stepping up when they shouldn’t. There’s no pressure on the ball and they’re running behind us, and then we don’t get a body to the player. ”
Sporting came out firing in the second half and looked to be pushing for a goal anyway, but the home team received some unanticipated help in that regard from FC Dallas substitute Brandon Servania.
Serven, who came on the 60th minute, spent just seven minutes on the field. But in that short span he managed to earn two yellow cards before being sent off.
Up a man for 25 minutes, Sporting KC pushed the pace until Hungarian winger Daniel Salloi knocked through an equalizer in the 77th minute.
With the match tied again, Dallas did what it could to drag the game to a halt. The visitors picked up multiple time-wasting yellows while Sporting was unable to pick up a go-ahead goal.
Sporting KC will next play reigning MLS Cup champion NYCFC on the road Saturday at 6 pm Central Time.
This story was originally published April 30, 2022 9:46 PM.