Given how pleased I was with a goalless draw at home while other Sporting Kansas City fans were disappointed, you might think that I would be over the moon about yesterday's road win in New York. You'd be wrong.
Don't get me wrong, it's better to win than it is to lose or draw, so I'm happy with the result. Other than injury worries, I'm not particularly bothered by the ugly performance turned in at Yankee Stadium. It's just that, as I said on the Twitter Machine beforehand, there wasn't much to be learned from that game.
I've got plenty of sympathy for MLS teams who have to make do by playing their home matches in a baseball stadium, my team having been in that particular wilderness not too long ago, but the tiny and ridiculously narrow field that can be squeezed into the outfield doesn't make for scintillating soccer. Even without the sundry absences on both sides, that game was always going to be a professional version of mob-ball.
Speaking of absences, Roger Espinoza's international duty deprived Sporting of exactly the kind of gritty, hard working midfielder who could have given Sporting an advantage winning loose balls pinging around the congested midfield. The injured Krisztian Nemeth could have provided some size, power, and guile in the attack--at least, he might have provided one or more of those attributes, but it's hard to say until his sprained knee gets healthy enough to see him play a bit more. We can't claim to have been the worst off on the absence front, though, because NYCFC had six new players in their starting lineup, which most critically lacked David Villa (and he's kind of a big deal).
So, a game on a ridiculous field played by hodgepodge lineups was always going to be lacking, but then it had to freaking snow. The cold weather and nasty conditions took what was always going to be a homely match and beat it with the ugly stick several more times. The unavoidable result played out on our televisions.
Unlike prior matches, where I thought that we could take a lot from the style of our play and how individual players were fulfilling their roles, the circumstances yesterday makes the match a cipher, with nothing really to say about the future of our team--other than possibly on the injury front.
Despite my Twitter admonishment "#dontgethurt," Graham Zusi tweaked a hamstring in the first half. Hopefully that injury is minor (and kudos to Vermes for the quick hook to avoid aggravating the injury). Maybe if Zusi has to miss time for the hamstring the rest will let the lingering issues from the stress fracture in his foot heal as well. While the suddenly ascendant Jimmy Medranda appeared to suffer a similar fate to his hamstring later in the match (which would have left the team even thinner on the wings), the early word was that the Colombian dynamo was only suffering from cramps.
Despite the need to destroy the video footage of yesterday's game to avoid being mislead by anything that occurred there, the 3 points are better than 1 or 0. The lone goal by Ike Opara will count in his favor when it comes time to vote for Defender of the Year, no matter the context in which he scored it.
We move on and return home to a proper field for Easter Sunday. I'll be there.