For the Glory KC is back with the 22nd episode of the show.
On this week’s first episode (we’ll be back Thursday to preview the weekend’s games), Sheena and I get a little contentious talking through what is going wrong with Sporting Kansas City after their 4-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders. We break down the play on the field, quotes from Peter Vermes and Johnny Russell, along with a little insight from this week’s town hall. Sheena even finds three bright spots (somehow!) from the rough Saturday night.
Not to be left out, we discuss the 1-0 loss by the Kansas City Current against the North Carolina Courage as well as a couple stories surrounding the USMNT in the Digital Crawl.
We got a little feisty about the SKC game and went longer than we wanted to. We’ll figure out this “keeping it under 40-minutes” thing eventually.
Here is a quick rundown of topics (and approximate start times):
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Be sure to like and subscribe to the podcast. Five-star ratings and reviews will help others find the pod. On Spotify you can review on the mobile app by clicking the three dots. On Apple, it’s much more straight forward. If it’s not quite five-star worthy yet, feel free to let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@PlayFor90 or @ForTheGloryKC).
The temporary intro/outro music is by Kristian Leo and is from the song “Ride it Like You Mean It.”
Update 3/27/23: Transcript added, with minimal editing. Post your favorite AI typo in the comments!
Transcript from Revoldiv
We’re back, just like I said we’d be back. I’m Chad Smith, editor at TheBlueTestament.com, new website name coming this week, who will take you a bit more in depth and I’m joined as always by my wife who I’m too depressed to give a wrestling nickname to. Sheena Smith, who gives us that more casual perspective. Sheena, what’s up? Oh, hey Chad, it’s pretty depressing today. Yeah, it’s pretty tough being a Kansas City soccer fan in 2023, at least the women were good in 2022. Hopefully they’ll return.
But on today’s show, we are going to discuss Sporting Kansas City getting crushed by the Seattle Sounders. I’m going to crap on Ben Sweat a bunch. I imagine Sheena’s going to join me in that.
The Kansas City Current lost their home opener and have a ton of injuries. We’ll update you on that. And of course, the digital crawl, y’all. Sheena, do you want to get right to it? Yeah, Chad, it’s been an awful weekend in Kansas City soccer, like completely dreadful. But let’s hope the weekend can end on a positive note. Today we have Sporting Kansas City II and the comments have a game. So maybe we can have two wins from the day. Well, the last time I said there’d be a double win, that went really badly. Yeah, I’m not calling for wins. I’m just not calling for losses. Okay, yeah, we’ll see.
Something to look forward to. So if you’re listening to this Sunday night, those games will still be on. We’re going to try to hopefully have this out by then. We’re recording Sunday mid-morning here. So let’s get right into it here.
Sporting Kansas City got off to a hot start against the Seattle Scanners, scored super early in the game. Daniel Salloi made a nice attacking play. The ball was saved. It looked like Stephen Frei was heading towards goalkeeper of the week, just like we always do. And then, no, no, no, Willy Agada banging home the rebound. Afterwards, Willy looking up to the sky, seemed like there was a demon that had been exercised out of him. We talked to him in the locker room and he said he was just thanking God that he finally got a goal in the fifth game of the season.
So it started good. It did start out good. And like most people, I started the game feeling confident in our team’s ability. I felt like we controlled the ball like the first 10 minutes of the game.
And then of course, Willy Agada finally scored a goal. So he has that ender is about so for like that first 10 minutes, I started to feel like this is the sporting Kansas City from the end of 2022. Like I saw glimpses of it.
I thought it might be a turning point in our season. But unfortunately, the type of turning point I thought we were going to be having in this game went from positive at the beginning of the game to negative by the end, which is kind of unfortunate because this is kind of what I predicted would happen when we did our predictions in the last podcast. You were feeling high and mighty and thought the home crowd would be an advantage.
And to me, we only made, I think, one change from the previous lineup. And we like no changes. I think no changes. Okay.
Yeah, I think I think I’m thinking ahead to next game when there’s going to be a change. There’s going to be at least one. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m already, yeah, I think into the next game. But yeah, okay, so we made no changes. We looked stale and Seattle dominated us.
And I actually had a question for you, Chad, because I again, like I’m more familiar with football and I know when in football when teams are getting ready to play with each other, they study film and stuff in soccer, do they do the same? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think that’s probably true in pretty much every sport. Okay.
Yeah, I felt like that was the case. But then I didn’t really know because I’ve never seen pictures like in football, you see pictures of them studying film and I don’t feel like I’ve seen that for soccer. You know what I think is interesting that you bring that up because I got to go to the town hall with Peter Vermes this week for the KC Cauldron. And it was a great experience. One of my favorite parts of it was he actually broke down film for us during there. It was maybe like a five, six-minute clip and he he’d pause and talk us through the positioning on the field. And that’s absolutely happening between games. And he kind of broke down a lot of things that they were doing right. But then some things where, you know, obviously they have all these shots and not very many goals coming into the game and talking about how he showed us a few clips where we take a shot that was like an OK shot and then it gets saved.
But then he’d show look at this wide-open pass. If Thommy goes to Salloi we hear he’s in all by himself on the keeper. He showed a few other examples to don’t want to just pick on poor Thommy. Although Thommy did have to go bad game this weekend. He specifically mentioned Thommy in the film session and was talking about how he’s pressing too hard. He’s trying to do too much.
He showed this clip from when Felipe Gutierrez was with the team and how he made this little simple motion where he kind of run forward, took a pass, made a back pass and then just like trotted backwards and didn’t really sprint or move around a whole bunch. But it tore apart whatever team they were playing in the clip. I can’t remember.
And then it showed another clip of Thommy getting the same result but running around so much to make the same thing happen. So he’s kind of saying how once he understands the system better he’s just going to be better and better at this because he’s getting good results because he’s a good soccer player. But he’s making it hard on himself and he’s running himself in the ground. Which I think we pretty much see every game. He’s always exhausted and I think maybe once I’ve seen him go all 90 minutes.
Anyways, I digress. You said do they study film? Yes, they study film. Yeah. Continue.
Yeah. So because they do study film, I mean Seattle had four weeks of basically the same lineup to study so it’s no wonder they ran all over us. I was saying in the last podcast, like they needed to switch up the lineup, even if it resulted in a loss, like at least maybe the players would be a little confused on Seattle and it wouldn’t be as predictable. We just, we look bad.
You know, and that’s a good point because maybe what it was is Seattle had a wildly different setup going on in this game because they were missing a bunch of players and maybe, you know, the sporting didn’t adapt to that very well, didn’t handle it very well. Jordan Morris is not a striker and obviously if you’re listening to this, you probably are aware he scored four goals against Kansas City on Saturday night. So that’s not great when you let somebody playing out of position just absolutely tear you apart. They were missing both of their strikers. Imagine if sporting didn’t have William Agada and Alan Pulido. Like you would be like, of course we didn’t win instead Seattle won 4-1. Yeah. Well, I wanted to talk about, because I feel like everyone is pretty worn down, feeling pretty defeated and feeling pretty negative. And I don’t want to be like that person of optimism, but I found three positives in this game that I wanted to quickly talk about.
Go for it. Yeah. Okay.
So the first thing I saw is that we momentarily saw what this team can be if the stars aligned properly and as quickly as they sink together and they had a good 10 to 15 minutes of soccer, they quickly turned into a hot mess. So the potential is there, and we don’t even have all of the starters. So that was the first positive. The second, Johnny Effing Russell made his debut, which gives us hope, I think, going forward. And I think if, well, I’m positive actually that if Ben Sweat, who we can talk about after this, didn’t get that that second yellow and got kicked out of the game, like we would have seen Pulido too. And I tweeted about this, but like, can you imagine how pissed off Pulido is up and sweat for like, he didn’t get to make his debut. And now he’s probably going to make his debut on the road, which cool, I still want to see him. But I think after, you know, a year of being not playing due to injuries, I think it would have been something special for him to be, you know, making his 2023 debut I agree. And you I’m sure could hear it on the broadcast. It was deafening in the stadium when Russell subbed on the crowd went bananas.
So they’ve probably done the same thing if Pulido would have came on too. Yeah, great points. Yeah, I do think we’ll see Alan on the road barring anything weird happening in practice this week against the union next week. I also think though, because right now the fan base morale is so low. I think that there’s just so much more pressure on Johnny Russell and Pulido than there was like a week ago, like the they have to come out strong and scoring because the fans need something to feel good about. And we’ve been hearing things will get better once players return from injury. Well, they’re two of the top players. So I kind of feel like at this point they have to be lights out before sporting loses more fans for the season. You know, that brings up a good point.
I don’t know if you saw this quote that I got from Johnny Russell after the game. He was so dejected by the way he talked to us, you know, the captain almost always ends up having to talk to the media and of course he was returning. So we wanted to talk to him. But I asked him about like, obviously, they’re feeling down. And you could see it in his, you could see in the locker room all the way around, like everybody looks pretty bummed out about how things went. And they take it just as hard as I know the fans take it awfully, right. And I said, you know, what can you say to the fans right now? And he said, quote, they’ve been great.
They stick with us. They stick with us all. They stuck with us all last year. They’ve always been on our side, but it’s up to us.
We have to show something show that we want to be here that we’re willing to fight for this club. We want to get this club back to where we feel it should be top side of the table challenging for things winning silverware. That’s what this club is used to is used to.
It doesn’t feel great to be part of a side right now that’s not living up to those expectations. They demand that of us, you know, it’s their club. They turn up weekend week out, get behind us.
So it’s time that we start repaying that and showing them something and quote. So I thought that was a really good quote from him, especially because I asked him like the sixth or seventh question and he had been talking for so many minutes. I thought it was pretty insightful and they know to your point, the pressure is on them to make something happen and pressure makes diamonds, right? Hopefully we’ll start to see some diamonds in these coming weeks.
Yeah, let’s hope so. My third positive is that Ben Sweat is out of here, at least for the next game, probably more. I mean, he’s cost us three games this season and at least going into the immediate future. He can’t be the reason we lose games. What I think is unfortunate is that it took this game for Peter Vermes to realize what a liability Ben Sweat is and it would have been better if he noticed it in the second game of the season, like the majority of us did because like the first game of the season, I can cut some slack, but like we all knew at game two, he wasn’t good enough to be starting. So I think it’s a positive that he’s not playing for a while and hopefully not again this season. Yeah, to defend Peter, which I know people get mad at me for defending Peter, there were literally no other healthy fullbacks on the whole roster, right? Caden Pierre, who came in as a sub against Dallas got hurt and then also Tim Leibold and Logan Ndenbe are both hurt. So you had just Sweat and Zusi, you started Sweat and Zusi. That’s it. Yep.
Maybe you shouldn’t have. And to your point, I don’t think we’re going to see Swett again for a while beyond just the one game. But I don’t know, I think Vermes realized he wasn’t playing great, but he was limited on options, right? Because if you’ll recall the third game, if I’m remembering right, he started Tim Leibold and maybe he pressed Leibold in before he was ready and that’s why he got hurt. And now that’s why he’s back out again. I’m not sure if that was the case or if it was just bad luck or whatever the situation may have been, but I think he realized it and then he’s kind of forced his hand back to Swett. But you’re right. Swett gave up the goal in the first game here, had the turnover that led to the goal against Portland loss. Fourth game had a turnover that led to Dallas’s game-winning goal. It was a stretch to put him back in there and, you know, Peter does deserve some portion of the blame for that. I can’t disagree with that.
It’ll be interesting to see who plays left-back going forward. I actually have a story that I started last night about all the options, because I think the immediate option looks like Cam Duke, right? Because he played, but then I think there’s some other options as well. So go check that out on the bluetestimate.com. Look for that later this week. Okay.
So, I think at this point, like it should have been Cam Duke starting last night, even though that’s not his natural position, but he needed, like they needed a switch up. And at least Cam Duke got on the field, although the reason he was on the field wasn’t the best because we lost Ben Sweat. But I’m not even mad that like we were playing down a man. Like I rather play with 10 people than have been sweat on the field.
But is it not possible to bring somebody up from Sporting KC II? Good question. So, there were a lot of teams this week that did loans from their second teams because of all the players away on international duty. However, supporting aren’t missing enough players to meet the threshold to be able to do a loan like that. And then the left-backs on Sporting KC II, there are some promising people down there that might be able to fill that role. But they haven’t played any games yet. They’ll be playing as we mentioned later today for the first time this season.
So I don’t know. It doesn’t matter though because unless more people get hurt, oh my gosh, please don’t let that be the case. They don’t have the ability to make a call up and or have had more people been away on international duty. But the international break will come to an end this week, so that’ll be out the window for next game. Okay.
Ben Sweat getting out of the game, getting the second yellow to be a red card was a blessing in disguise. The ref, Sam Ben Sweat, like they did the fans a favor by getting him out of the game, even though it was an atrocious game. Like I’d rather struggle a few more games while we wait for Leibold to get better or somebody else than see another minute of Ben Sweat. And I’m glad that Peter Vermes is like a dress sweat without calling him by name. And I hope this is the last of Ben Sweat for sporting. And I think I responded to one of your tweets saying like, does Ben Sweat even really like playing on sporting Kansas City? Because sometimes it feels like maybe he doesn’t based on the mistakes he’s making. I saw when you sent that tweet to me and then it got me thinking about, remember that quote that Robert, my colleague over at the Blue Testament, Robert Russert, got from Sweat in the preseason saying, it’s a head scratcher that we signed a third left back. We have two good left backs on the team already. And I was like, maybe to Sheena’s point, would he be dumb enough to like sabotage the team and play bad on purpose? I don’t think so. Like I think that’s like a bridge too far.
Like I think he wants to play well. Like you’re going to end up out of the league, right? If you keep playing this bad. I had wrote a story before the season about, hey, maybe Ben Sweat has some trade value. Well, if he had any trade value, it is gone. He probably never had trade value as like coming off a catastrophic injury. And, you know, but he was, he’s cheap and he’s a veteran. And like, you know, maybe you can get him to be a backup on a team that’s dealing with a bunch of injuries. But yeah, he’s third on the depth chart for me now. Actually, I made a joke that he’s like seventh or eighth on my left back. Yeah, he doesn’t even have a right.
There’s only three left backs on the team. He doesn’t even rank for me. Yeah, I’d put Pierre ahead of him, Voloder, who’s the center back ahead of him, Duke ahead of him. Espinoza played some left back early in his career. Maybe we put Roger back there and just don’t make him run up and down the field and let the right back get up. And yeah, your eyes got really wide.
Yeah, maybe not. Maybe not Roger. But yeah, there’s he shouldn’t see the field anytime soon. So do you want to talk about the reason why we’re mad at Ben Sweat? Well, I have one more point based off of something you said. So you were saying maybe because of that, that head scratching quote, maybe he’s sabotaging the team. Like, I don’t know that that idea is like so far fetched because one of the points I was going to make is like, remember a few seasons ago when Felipe Hernandez had that gambling issue? And to me, it kind of felt like it was at a left field. If someone came out and said Ben Sweat had been betting against his own team, I would totally believe it based on how he was playing. Like, it wouldn’t be so far fetched like it was for sweet Felipe Hernandez. Oh boy. Yeah, I think you’re getting into the conspiracy theory. I know.
I genuinely believe he wants to play well. No, but I don’t think anybody wants to play bad. Like, I could see somebody being mad and wanting to be out of the team. Like, you can’t get onto the field or whatever.
But like, he’s getting a chance to start and he’s botching those chances. So let’s talk about how I want to basically blame Ben Sweat for everything in this game because it’s hard to really judge anything after his red card. So the first goal from Seattle, good goal, kind of came out of nowhere. Credit to Leo Chu, he made a brilliant pass. I watched it a few times and I’m not sure if Fontas or Sweat should do better in marking Jordan Morris on that play probably, but it’s a really good pass.
So I’m tempted to kind of let that one go a little bit. But the second goal, let’s get to that. So the second goal sequence starts with Ben Sweat fouling Seattle in the corner, earning his first yellow card of the match, by the way. So kind of a rough challenge for me.
He’s thought he couldn’t tell, but he said, I haven’t watched the replay yet, but live he thought maybe Sweat was going to get a red card there for that tackle. So I need to go back and watch it, try to zoom in and see what he was maybe seeing. Because I was in the press box. It was the complete opposite corner of the field from where I was sitting. I couldn’t get a good gauge.
But after that, the set piece comes from Seattle. They cross the ball in, pulls camp, I think gets a punch on it and it goes wide. Zusi gathers it in the corner and then Zusi basically just gets shoved off the ball. He gets knocked to the ground and he gets up and tries to fight for it and tries to clear it. But his clearance doesn’t go far enough.
Falls to Seattle. They dribble back in, pass into Jordan Morris, who’s kept onside by who else? Ben Sweat and Morris scores the second goal of the game. And then from there, it was basically downhill because not too long after that, Ben Sweat picks up his second yellow card on an unnecessary challenge against Leo Chu, who had the game of his life in the middle of the field. He gets red carded. He’s gone and Johnny Russell, who had just subbed into the game, is now forced to play with the 10-man team.
And I just don’t think you can really rate too much of what happened after the team was down to 10 men because they’re not playing their style. They’re pressing too hard trying to score a goal. The third goal comes and they haven’t subbed on anybody to go play left back yet, which maybe that’s a fault for him. Yeah, that was kind of weird. Yeah, I think he thought, oh, if we can go get a goal back, then I can bunker in and make subs and be defensive. But instead they gave up a third goal.
I think probably you have to play the long game and say, you know what? We’re down to one. We’re down a man. We need to bunker in and put on more defenders and try to like hold this to one. And maybe we get lucky and hit on the counter with some of our, you know, better attacking players. But giving up all these goals, goal differential is one of the tiebreakers. If we get later on into the season, but everybody will probably be mad at me for even referencing tiebreakers because tiebreakers mean playoffs. And right now, that feels like the furthest thing from anybody’s mind after five games and zero wins and just two points. So that was the breakdown for sweat.
What do you want to talk? about it, Sheena. I’m over Ben Sweat. I don’t want to give him any more of my time. I just want to move on and let’s talk about Jordan Mora since he scored all those goals.
Oh, well, I’m not ready to move on yet. Oh, okay. You read some quotes.
I thought you might have more Ben Sweat hate to send out. I’m over him. Yeah, you know, I’ll tell a quick side story and then I’ll get to the thing I want to share from Peter in the post-game presser. But when I first met Ben Sweat, like I’m not I feel like I’m not very good at doing interviews. Like I sometimes don’t have a great plan of what I want to say.
And on like media day of 2022, I met him and I asked him questions and he were a little stumbling. It was probably about him competing with Logan Ndenbe for the starting job. I don’t really remember.
And he just seemed like annoyed with me. And maybe it’s because I did a bad job. Maybe he doesn’t like the media. Maybe that’s just who he is as a person. I’m not sure.
And then I remember later in the season, I was defending Ben Sweat like I crapped on him for the first three quarters of last year. Absolutely. Like he was not great when he would get onto the field. And mostly he wasn’t on the field, right? Because Ndenbe was playing. But I remember at the end of the season, he’d been playing really well. And I know that everybody doesn’t agree with that.
But I thought he played much, much better down the stretch. And you know, they went six, two and two to end the season. And he was the starter in all those games. And I said, I was interviewing him in the locker room. And I said, like, I think your play has been greatly improved down the stretch, blah, blah, blah. And he just snapped back at me with like, I think I’ve been playing great all year, I disagree with your assessment. Like, and I was like, I did ask the question poorly, right? Because I was basically saying like, you were bad for the first three quarters, which I think he was. But it’s not maybe the best way to ask the question. So he’s always kind of rub me the wrong way. And him being bad at soccer and costing us games is it’s not satisfying because I don’t want sporting Kansas City to lose.
But it’s like, of course, you’re the person doing this. This is who you are as a human. So that’s kind of how I felt about him from the get-go. I’ve just not had good interactions with him.
And part of it, I’ll take some blame that like, I just don’t 100% know what I’m doing as a as a media person, I’m figuring it out still because it’s a part time side hustle thing. So Well, and I think the other thing is that, you know, you had your interaction. And then you go back to before the season with the headscratcher comment, and it kind of matches up a little bit. Like, I think he thinks he’s a better player than what he is. And like, I’m all about people being confident in their abilities. But he’s overconfident and he doesn’t have the abilities. Yeah, I’m wondering, yeah, I agree with you.
Like, I think that you need to have confidence, right? You need to have this like undying belief in yourself to be a good at a lot of things, right? Not just being a professional athlete, but all kinds of stuff. I think I’m really good at my day job. But y’all, I won’t get into that. I don’t want to bring my, you know, Fortune 100 company into this nonsense.
But at the same time, I agree with you, you have to be willing to look inside yourself and see where you’re deficient. And hopefully he’s doing that on his own, even if he’s not doing it outwardly with us, which is fine. You don’t have to admit it to me publicly. But yeah, kind of rub me the wrong way. You ready for some Ben Sweat quotes from Peter Vermes where he doesn’t say Ben Sweat’s name, but he’s definitely talking about Ben Sweat. Sure, lay it on me. All right.
So he basically said exact quote, Vermes, you’re making a mistake, making a mistake, making a mistake. And it’s the same people making it dot dot dot. So we lose a little bit. Now we’re in a position where we’re going to change some things because we have to. And maybe that’s for the best. So I think we have to change Ben Sweat, obviously, right. So and maybe that’s for the best.
Maybe the team will be better off not having been sweating the lineup. So I think he the have to is definitely Ben Sweat, right? Yeah, ask the change him because he has a red card he suspended, not going to be able to see me. You can dispute the card, but he won’t because it was definitely a yellow card. And he definitely sent off like, I’m not even arguing against that. I think there were yellow cards that probably should have been given to Seattle in this game that weren’t given. But that was definitely a yellow card on Ben Sweat in the story.
Ready for another quote? Sure. All right, quote, some people need to see the game from a different place. End quote.
That was Peter again. That to me sounds like from the bench from the stands, maybe Bench would come and watch the game from up in the press box with us. I don’t know what he meant. Oh, it’d be terrible. Now he wouldn’t sit in the press box. The players go to other suites and things they don’t come up and sit with us unless they’re coming up to do like a scrum with us. We’ve done that before with players like it half time. All right, another quote, experience means nothing if you don’t use it end quote.
So that’s definitely a shot at Ben Sweat right. He’s like the veteran left back. You’ve got Ndenbe who’s very young. You’ve got Pierre who came on who’s very young. Leibold’s obviously a bit more of a veteran but not an MLS and he hasn’t really played. So I think he’s talking about him, but he could be talking about other guys that are experienced and didn’t maybe have great games. And then my last quote from Vermes is just quote very naive on our part for the yellows end quote. So my takeaway from this is we’re not going to see Ben Sweat anytime soon. Obviously, he’s suspended for the Philadelphia Union game, but I got to think you’re going to try basically anything else with the way things are going and then hopefully Tim Leibold is healthy, healthy again very soon. And he’s the starter and he plays out of his mind. And this is all just a distant, distant nightmare that we never have to think about again.
It feels like you still should have made these changes after the Dallas game. So I again think it’s a blessing in disguise he got he has to miss a game because it’s forcing for me to make a change and if sweat had stayed in the game, we’d probably have the same lineup. And hopefully, like Peter Vermes is doing some soul searching and thinking about other positions that maybe they need to bring somebody else in. Because like this was a point I wanted to make is that realistically, we need to start thinking about next season, like we’re probably maybe gonna have five games in there’s 29 games to go. No, no, no, I’m not saying like let’s throw in the towel.
I’m saying we need to get those younger players out there now and getting experience like if we’re going to be bad this season, then let’s at least get the younger guys in there playing. Let’s get Felipe Hernandez in there, Cam Duke in there, Jake Davis is out his name, get him in there more playing. We might as well figure out what our talent pool is and start thinking about next season because last season was a total fail. We didn’t really make any adjustments.
So what I’m trying to say is Roger and Zusi probably have I mean, definitely the rest of this year, maybe one more season tops like we need to start seeing their replacements come on the field more. And I think Zuzi overall has been playing better than a Spinoza. But this is only five games like he’s not going to be able to maintain, you know, each game, this was by far his worst game, which is really unfortunate for Zusi because it was his 400th appearance or whatever with the team. And this is a game I’m sure he’d like.
to forget. So that’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying let’s forget about the rest of this season. I’m saying let’s get the younger kids in there and get them prepared for next season. Okay, I would say generally speaking, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying.
That said, this is another thing with the broken MLS playoff format. And everybody hates that I keep saying everyone gets in. Yeah, not everyone gets in right nine of 14 teams in the West. So only five teams aren’t going to make it, which means you’re alive for so long sporting, heteroshus last season, and weren’t eliminated until there were two games to go. If it was the playoff format, we have in 2023 back in 2022, they wouldn’t have literally been eliminated until the last game of the season, the loss on the road at Dallas.
So, Peter basically doesn’t want to stop trying when he thinks he can win. And if he thinks a veteran’s going to give him a better chance to win, that’s why he goes with what he goes with whether you agree with that or not. And I know a lot of people disagree with that. I see a lot of tweets about, oh, I can’t believe we’re starting Zusi, Espinoza, Shelton, Sweat, etc. Andreu Fontas, I saw thrown in there too. You know, some of them have some blame to go around, right? Obviously, we’re not big Khiry fans on this podcast or obviously been Sweat, blame it for everything. But I think it’s an oversimplification.
I was sitting next to Daniel Sperry, the Kansas City star watching the game and Roger, he wasn’t moving around a ton. But then when he did move, he just reads the game so well, like I can see why he’s in there, right? He’s not wasting energy, he’s bursting when he needed to burst them, then good for Peter for taking him off at halftime, because he did look tired and you know, don’t need to overuse him. He mentioned at the town hall, by the way, he goes, I don’t want to start Roger every game, like, it keeps being the situation based on the way things are going and the injuries, etc.
etc. I know people are tired of hearing that. But he said, he’s like letting him sit out parts of practice so he doesn’t run him into the ground. And I think that we’ll hopefully see some changes in the midfield. But anyway, side digress, we’ve had the Roger conversation book is signing another player. You mentioned signing another player. Technically, they can put Courtney Ford on the injured list, but then that only opens up one spot. They are full up on players unless they trade somebody, release somebody, etc. Well, they could start by releasing Ben Sweat. That would be a way to get a second player.
But I did wonder if like this will be the end of Ben Sweat. Remember when Jose Mowry played terrible in the opener last year against Atlanta, and then midweek he was released. And I was like, what is happening? Like he was supposed to be the starting defensive midfielder and he’s gone. So maybe Ben Sweat will be gone too. I was going to just say I’m not against Roger and Zusi Plain. I think Roger, he’d be a great second half like come in late. And so I’m for that.
I still think Zusi should be the starter, especially right now because Kayden Pierre is injured. But can we talk about Jordan Morris? I don’t really want to. What do you want to talk about him? Well, I mean, he ties into a point I’m going to make about sporting Kansas City and our defense. So make make your points do it.
Jordan Morris and his awful late 90s early 2000s hairstyle like ran over us last night with all his goals. And I think the thing we haven’t talked about, we’ve talked a lot about Ben Sweat, but like our last night’s game showed the defensive problems are exactly what we thought they were going to be before the season started. So we gave up more goals last night than we had in any of the other four games, which is just heartening. Literally all the games combined, they gave up more goals.
And I’m not sure what I mean, we’ve kind of talked about this. I don’t know what the solution is. If we don’t get injured players back besides using Cam Duke, and now that I know sporting KC II players are in an option. I mean, is the only other option to do the formation we saw after where it was like Voloder , Zusi and Fontas is the defensive players. I think there’s lots of options and I’m going to write it up and you go read on the test.com.
It’ll take too long. Okay. But this goes back to a point like you talk about the playoffs all the time and how there’s still plenty of time. The point I will keep bringing up all season until there’s no reason to keep bringing it up is well, for one, for one, how badly do we miss Kortne Ford right now? Like, how would the game be different if we if Kortne Ford hadn’t been injured? But the other point is like, how badly again, did that potential Ronaldo deal hold up or hurt us? And it’s frustrating because while all that hoopla was going on, we weren’t really addressing the needs of the team. We didn’t get Ronaldo, which honestly, at this point, I’d happily take him. He’s been scoring tons of goals.
They were so focused on that, like, we didn’t address the defensive problems. And as I think I read somewhere, maybe you told me that a lot of these players are getting injured because they’re coming in and they’re not healthy. Am I making that up? You’re not making that up.
So there was people that showed up unfit. And then, you know, the training apparently is hard and to be able to do the system. So maybe that’s on vermice for practicing them too hard too early, whatever.
But yes, people are getting injured. I would disagree with you slightly and saying that they didn’t address things because I think Peter Vermes signed a left back and apparently rumor is they’re paying this libel character $700,000 a season. So, he obviously saw a problem at left back and went and tried to address it. It’s just that we haven’t seen Tim because he picked up an injury so early, you know, it’s kind of a bummer. And then same thing at center back, Danny Rosero, rumor was he was going to arrive actually today in country, and he’s been signed. So that theoretically will help as well to give another option in the defense.
I disagree slightly, but I get why people are men. I get what people are frustrated and it’s hard to be patient when it’s going this badly. Well, I mean, when you’re expecting Ben Swett and Robert Voloder, no offense to him because he’s a young guy. But if we’re expecting them both to be our knight in shining armors on defense, like it’s just not happening.
And I saw great, we got Leibold. But like it that all happened after the Ronaldo thing. And they had so much time and energy and money, I think, held up in the potential of getting Ronaldo that we adjust the issues so close to preseason or even during preseason, like, no wonder why players are out of shape. And is this typical? Like, I feel like this is the first time I’ve really heard of like players being out of shape or not ready as the reason they’re not playing. I don’t know that it’s the first time I think because it’s some prominent players, maybe that’s what we’re hearing a little bit like signings or guys we expected to see play Ndenbe . Apparently, he got injured in preseason partially because he didn’t show up in his good shape as it was expected and completed his offseason training.
So, I will push back a little bit on this Ronaldo thing. Like I definitely think the Ronaldo thing could have been a distraction. I won’t disagree there.
But both Leibold and Rosario were players that they had tried to get in the past. And negotiations and soccer sometimes just take a long time. It’s a little different than other sports where like in the NFL, you just like go swing a trade or whatever. This is you’re trying to sign someone.
They have so many options. There are so many countries they can go to. They’re under contract with their prior teams and you go back, and you offer more, or they get out of their contract or their situation changes. And the manager changes, you know, whatever it may be.
So, I don’t really have any more thoughts on this game, but we have some questions. Do you have any other thoughts before we get to the questions? I was going to make one last point about this Ronaldo thing. I feel like it’s a fail at Peter Vermes’ and company to seek out a position we didn’t need. And it makes me wonder what kind of faith overall that they have in Pulido. I wonder what they would have done if Pulido and Ronaldo were both on a team together.
And I’m honestly, I’m pissed off about this whole situation. We should be better than what we are. And right now the team is garbage. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this.
I’m still going to support them because they’re my team. And like I’m not throwing in the towel like I’ve seen a lot of people are doing. But I think it’s fair for the fans to be frustrated and to express that. And that’s what I have to say about that. And and really, I just hope the changes that even if we lose some more games, like as long as there’s changes, like I’ll be I’ll be fine losing if we see a different lineup. Well, I don’t know that I’ll be fine losing, but one little thing I’ll add for context here.
I agree the Ronaldo thing, it probably never made sense. Did get a little context from Peter this week that the deal with Ronaldo was going to be for two and a half seasons, which is kind of weird. It’s so he could have been out of contract in the summer so he could go back to Europe, presumably if he’s playing well or whatever. And they also had a potential option in there to go get loaned to a Champions League team. If somebody in Champions League in Europe wanted to sign him up. But yeah, not not great. Doesn’t make sense, the Ronaldo thing. And yeah, who knows how he fits into this team, but I’m not going to blame that for the off season. But he basically mentioned that. I think just a little. OK, a little.
But he mentioned that it was about the marketing. It was a lot about the off the field impact that Ronaldo would have the attention it would bring to the team. So I know that that’s people were mad about that.
But I think there’s something to be said for that because you’re raising the profile of your city or league trying to bring in other players. He did mention that the other player. Remember, we heard about like a big European star is interested in coming.
He said to us that he was a Premier League player that’s played for multiple teams, but it just didn’t work out. He was he’s older. He’s towards the end of his career.
And that’s not what they wanted to do, which is interesting because Ronaldo is older. Yeah, but but he said the marketing opportunities with the players. With Ronaldo were massively greater than this other person who is a quality player, but isn’t going to bring the kind of like attention you’d get if you signed to Ronaldo. OK, well, my last point on this and then we can move on to the questions that we got from our followers.
But great that Ronaldo brought all this marketing attention. But now the flip side of that is if potential players or scouts or whoever are seeing the way sporting is playing like it’s having a negative effect. Like, I don’t know why somebody would want to come over to this team with the way they’re currently playing. It’s a bad time to bring attention. Yes.
And I don’t think the retention really came right. The attention would have came had Ronaldo showed up. They probably got slightly raised attention. But Vermes basically said they were getting calls left and right from people right after the Ronaldo thing. And it’s kind of simmered down because it’s like every agent and their mother is trying to bring a player over.
But let’s talk about these questions. So we got a few questions on Twitter. We got one on Instagram. First, we’re going to go to this one, Alex Brown on Twitter at Alex Brown KC.
He said, what sort of line up comes out versus Philly one obvious change, but from Vermes’ post-game comments, it sounds like there’s more than a couple. But with the injury situation, who goes where and how another manager would try a formation change. But what would that look like? I would say we’re going to see the 4-3-3.
Vermes is not going to change formations. I’ve teased an article I’m writing about who plays left back. I think somebody will plug in at left back. As far as other changes, I think it massively depends on health.
I do think we’ll see Pulido. He told us in the post-game presser that Pulido would have played, if not for the red card. Hopefully we’ll see Russell, but it’s weird.
Did he get enough fitness to start? Maybe, maybe not. So maybe he comes off the bench, but maybe instead of coming off at 60 minutes and getting 30 minutes to play, maybe he comes on at half time like Felipe did this week. Do you have any thoughts about that, Gina? Well, I’d like to see Felipe start over Roger and Roger come in as a sub. So I think Felipe, as of right now, is the future in that position until some of these people come back from injury. So he needs to be playing more. And I think Roger at times is a great sub.
I would say the same for Khiry. I’d rather see Russell start and play until half time and then have Khiry come in or come in at 60 minutes because Khiry also does better as a sub than a starter. I mean, Cam Duke, I think needs to, if Leibold isn’t ready, he needs to come in and take Ben Sweat’s position. Do you think John Pulskamp lost his position as starting goalie? Do you think we’ll see Melia come in? Yeah, I did wonder about that because obviously giving up four goals is not great, even if two of them were why you were down a man.
So I don’t know. It’s possible this could be the excuse. Melia did make his debut in the game day 20. He was on the bench for the first time this season. So could be.
We’ll see. I still think Pulskamp should be the starter personally. I think he is the future of the team and it feels like you’d be going backwards. Like that’s just my thoughts. People aren’t going to be happy with even more older guys starting over.
Yeah. I agree. I think Pulskamp has played very good at the beginning of the season and I kind of just want to throw this game out because Seattle is very good and as frickin Ben Sweat, man.
I just had to say that myself. I curse a lot in my day to day life, y’all, and I’m trying to keep this podcast without an explicit tag on it. All right. Next question comes from Connor Bateman at Connor with a K3 on Twitter. I love that username.
Hopefully we won’t see Swett the rest of the year. He’s cost us all of our losses so far. Totally agree, Connor. I’m also tired of the lack of effort by Shelton. Very happy to see Russell back on the field to replace him.
Do you think Rosario will start right away once he arrives? So like I said, Daniel Rosario may have arrived in country today as far as if he starts right away. I can’t completely rule it out. Like if he shows up and he’s really in shape and he takes the practice really well, you know, maybe you push Robbie Voleter out to left back. I think Volter’s.
played well. I think he’s getting a little scapegoating here or there. He’s been very good in my opinion. So I can’t rule it out, but I would say generally speaking, you’re unlikely to see somebody plug right into the lineup, especially in a complicated system, the way sporting likes to play. What do you think, Sheena? I think, I don’t think he should start because I think he’s replacing Voloder, right? I think he just said that. But yeah. Or it could be Voloder goes to left center back and Fontes goes to the bench.
I don’t know. I mean, but I doubt that. Peter seems to love Andrea.
I think that while Rosario is getting up to speed, like there’s no reason to bench Volader. So I started to tweet this and then Jordan Morris got his first goal. So I never ended up tweeting it.
But like Voloder is kind of growing on me. Like I think overall he’s getting better. Again, I’m going to throw out yesterday’s game because everybody, like nobody on the team stood out to me as having a good game or a great game. Everybody was subpar at best or awful.
So overall though, Voloder is growing on me. So I think he can continue to be the starter. The one thing that I think is different from Rosario to like Tim Leibold is that he should be in shape because he’s been playing this season. Like the team he’s coming from was in their season. So hopefully he spent this in between time, like watching sporting games and trying to learn the system to the best of his abilities. So yeah, I think that it’ll hopefully it’ll be a couple of games. Like I also don’t want us to throw Rosario out there when he doesn’t know the system because that could lead to more issues and give up potentially more goals.
Yep. All right. And you said we got a question on Instagram. Yeah.
So I don’t know how you say this name. Splunkado. Sorry, Splunkado. I’m probably saying this wrong.
But his question is, do you think Peter Vermes should just pick one role and stick with it? Chad, what are your thoughts on that? Well, yeah, a lot of people want him to either be the manager or the sporting director. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I see the logic in it.
I don’t disagree with people’s assessment, but they just gave him a five-year extension, aka six more years of Peter Vermes. So I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I think he does need to give up some of his power and delegate. Like we need more than his perspective on the field and like with making decisions. And we honestly need someone to push back on some of his decisions. So it doesn’t seem like it’s coming from Jake Reed.
I guess that would be his boss. I don’t know who Peter Vermes’ boss is, but nobody is pushing back on some of this. Everyone’s just kind of in cahoots and okay with it.
And when you’re starting off without a win, like some, we need to be doing new things. I know I keep saying that, but we need to try something new. And maybe one of the things we try is having somebody else come in and help him.
Do I think that’s going to happen? Absolutely not. But that’s just where I come down on it. Yeah, I think it’s too long of a discussion for this late in the pod, but it’s something that if you’re interested in that conversation, go to theBootestimate.com. Really good commenters on there have talked about this and kind of gone in good detail on it.
All right, let’s switch gears. We’ve gone way too long about Sporting Kansas City rage commenting. Sheen and I disagree more than ever this podcast.
Let’s talk about the Kansas City current. They opened their season on the road in Kerry, North Carolina, facing the North Carolina courage, and they did not look great. They lost one to nothing, but I thought they personally, I thought they were lucky to only have lost one to nothing to keep plugging writing.
I wrote up a multi-point article over at the The Blue Testament that you all should check out, kind of breaking down the formation and people playing a little bit out of position and whatnot, but a little caveat for this result. And I’m sure as soccer fans in Kansas City, you’re going to love to hear this. The current we’re missing a ton of their really good players. They were missing nine players, Kristen Hamilton, Debinha, Vanessa DiBernardo, Morgan Gautrat, Desiree Scott, Hanna Glas, Mallory Weber, Claire Lavogez, and Sam Mewis. Those last five we knew we’re not going to play, but coming out this week, Hamilton, Debinha, DiBernardo, and Gautrat were news to me. Apparently, they had missed some preseason games, but again, we didn’t see much of preseason to know. So, missing a lot of people started three rookies, Alexa Spaanstra, second overall pick, Michelle Cooper, and second round pick, Gabby Robinson.
She knew what were your thoughts on the current game. How is it possible both of our teams are playing very similar and have the same situation with injuries, giveaways? That was a big takeaway I took away from. The current is they were constantly giving away the ball back to North Carolina. It was very frustrating to watch. This was another bad game. And this was the first game of soccer yesterday because this came on in the early afternoon. So that game ended and I felt kind of bummed and I felt a little hopeful for sporting. But yesterday was just a bad soccer game in Kansas City. And Chad, can we talk about the volume issues for that game? Like what was going on? I’m pretty sure it gave you a headache, right? Yeah, I had a massive headache by the end of that game. The first half was brutal.
The JP Delacamera, his volume was all over the place. I don’t know the name of the color commentator that was working with. The English lady? The English lady.
Yeah, JP almost blew my ears out at one point on an exciting play. Maybe the goal call. I can’t remember.
For North Carolina, not a great look for the NWSL. Credit to them they did get it fixed by the second half. I will say another thing they fixed by the second half is the color commentator lady just was talking nonstop. And I was like, just let the game breathe. You’re not the play-by-play person. The play-by-play person can’t call the play-by-play because you’re talking constantly. So she’d done all this research and wanted to get in all these points. She knew about all these players. And I’m like, let the game just happen. So hopefully that’ll get better.
It was literally the first game of the entire NWSL system. Yeah, I didn’t realize how much she talked until really I heard the sporting game. And I was like, man, they don’t talk as much as that lady did.
But there was a lot of injuries. But that being said, there was still a lot of talent on the field. And a point you made like we’re lucky they only scored one goal against us. It could have easily have been more. Three or four wouldn’t have been surprising.
Karolin, the Brazilian forward, she was killing Kansas City down the left side of their defense, the right side of the North Carolina attack. And I think part of that was because of a formation change. It struck me as odd. I think this team probably needed to change formations with all this new talent they have on the roster. But what was weird to me is when they did it, they did it when a lot of that talent was missing. Two things really stood out to me.
They went to a back four instead of a back three. So they only played with two center backs instead of three center backs. And that left a ton of space where Haley Mace was kind of responsible for that space, I would assume. I don’t know.
Tactically, it could have been someone else’s responsibility to cut over. Obviously don’t know the game plan. I don’t have the insights.
But when you have a back three, Mace can roam and be all over the field because she’s not as responsible for that space. But when she was one of only four on the back line there and there’s not a third full back, or I’m sorry, a third center back, you have to cover that or someone has to cover that. And they were just getting shredded.
And then the other thing that I thought was really, really weird is that the team has a lot of good and talented forwards, but only four were healthy in this game and they started all four of them and played CeCe Kizer. What I would contend is out of position in the midfield. And she did a little midfield playing last year. It looked like in preseason, she may have been playing midfield, but she scored something like seven goals in 15 games last year after she arrived via trade. And most of those came up forward.
I don’t know why you wouldn’t put her where she’s at her most dangerous. She looked like she maybe moved to forward by the end of the game, because they didn’t have any forwards on the bench to sub in. So thought that was a little weird tactically. That is a little weird.
Well, the only other thing I had about this game is I’m not necessarily worried about the team. It’s only been one game. However, I’m worried for next week against the Thorns, which we’ll talk about on the next podcast. And just one thing to keep in mind is CeCe Current was in last place for like a good chunk of the season and we saw them turn it around and be in the NWSL championship game. So I do feel like we can’t get too down and out over this first game being a bust. And I still have way more confidence in CeCe Current than I do sporting Kansas City.
Also, where were their teal, but really turquoise socks? Like it made that ice uniform boring. They need the turquoise. And I’m gonna call it turquoise because that’s the color. I don’t care what they say.
It’s turquoise. It’s not teal. This is a constant point of contention in our house.
Turquoise is Sheena’s favorite color. We have little turquoise accents all over our house. We have some turquoise tiles in our shower. Like we have turquoise, turquoise, turquoise. And then teal is a much darker color than what turquoise is.
So Google it y’all, but we’ll let it go for now. I agree with you though. Generally speaking, not gonna panic.
The NWSL season though is much shorter than the MLS season. So you don’t have a lot of time to be bad. You made a good point that came from last and really rose the table. But I think they had something like a 13 game unbeaten streak in the middle of last season. And that’s unlikely to happen again. Although you never know if everybody’s healthy and out there at the right time. We’ll see. It’s not getting easier though. The home opener against the defending champions, the Portland Thorns. Yeah, that’s a tough one.
But we’ll talk more about that game on Thursday. Any other thoughts about the current before we get to the crawl, y’all? Let’s just get to the crawl, y’all. All right, digital crawl everybody.
So Sheena briefly mentioned it. The Kansas City current unveiled a new kit this week, a new secondary kit. They have what they’re calling the quote ice kit. It’s essentially from any distance whatsoever other than maybe inches away from it.
It looks like a white jersey, plain white jersey. It does have a pattern on there, but it’s very hard to see. But what made it okay for me was, I’m just gonna say it, even though you don’t like this, the teal shorts and socks. And then what happens in the first game of the season? They’re not wearing the teal slash turquoise socks. I was kind of bummed to not see them out there because I mean, what do we gotta do to get a teal slash turquoise primary jersey? That’s what the team needs. It’s better coming in 2024 for that new stadium.
The all they’re branding is about teal rising and teal this, teal that. And then, yeah, not even wearing that color. Like you have a red jersey and a white jersey again.
Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. And I don’t, I would, like I wonder why they didn’t have the quote, unquote, teal socks on. Like, cause that really to me, the shorts I thought were a nice touch. It gave it at least some pop, but I think the socks would give it that extra oomph that we want until we get the teal jersey, but really turquoise. Let it go, Sheena.
All right, next thing, the US men’s national team, they played on Friday. They went and crushed Grenada 7-1 in the Conca Calf Nations League, lots of dynamic, good attacking going on there. And then one more bit of US soccer related news. This is a news one for you, Sheena.
Florian Balagon, I’m sure I’m saying his name right. He’s a promising youth player. He can play for England, the United States or Nigeria because of parents and grandparents and things like that. He was called up to the England U21s and he left camp with a quote injury. Then he immediately showed up in Orlando where the US men had been hanging out and went to like an Orlando Magic game, things like that. So he can file a one-time switch to the United States.
He’s a striker. He has scored 17 goals this season in the French top division, Ligue 1, for Reims. I’m sure I’m pronouncing that name right because I don’t know any other soccer teams around the world other than Kansas City teams, some MLS and NSL teams, but kind of exciting.
Hopefully he makes the one-time switch. People are like, this is what the US soccer needs. If they get a striker, they’ll be unbeatable. So we’ll, something to watch there.
He has left England for the time being because he’s quote hurt. We’ll see if he shows up in place for his French club when their schedule resumes. Yeah, that’ll be interesting to see what team he ends up playing for. I agree.
All right, if you’ve made it this far and you have not already, be sure to go subscribe to the podcast. Tell all your Kansas City soccer friends. They can come at me for my, the season is super long and everybody makes the playoffs takes, but I try to be rational. I try to be reasonable.
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