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Instant Reactions to Sporting KC vs the Houston Dynamo

Sporting KC’s season is over. Thoughts on the Houston Dynamo game, the uncalled handball, player performances and more.



I don't know why I picked Salloi, his sad face just works for this story. | Credit: Thad Bell

For the Glory KC is back with the 61st episode of the show!

On this week’s episode, Sporting Kansas City are unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs by the Houston Dynamo.

First, we have to discuss the tactical approach from Peter Vermes and company. With only 26 percent possession in the first half, it seems they didn’t want the ball. Which is a puzzling choice when Houston is at their best when they have the ball. After the game, Vermes confirmed to me that it was the plan and he basically thought it was effective. I strongly disagree. I disagreed before the game too, for the record.

Update 11/27/23: Here is Vermes’ full quote in response to my question about only having 26 percent possession and if that was the game plan. 

“We weren’t going to go chase them all over the field,” started Vermes. “They like to play a box in the middle of the park. So, we stayed with the same. Like I said, they didn’t score any goals through the run of play. It was through a corner. So, it was pretty simple. It was that we were going to take our chances like we had. We had some great counterattacks early on in the game and then obviously we had the chance with (Alan) Pulido. And then what I said before is when Alan got the ball, cut it back, played a shot, and then Daniel followed it up. I mean, it’s right there. So, like I said, I think actually the game plan netted out the things that we wanted to get in the game. Unfortunately, we just didn’t finish the chances that we made.”

Then of course, we have to discuss the handball heard round the world (except in the VAR room). The referee apparently told Johnny Russell it hit his chest. Did the VAR not tell the ref that was wrong? Did they even look at the best angle before play resumed? So many questions left unanswered.

This also reminded me of that Seth Sinovic red card against LAFC in 2018.

But don’t worry, it’s not just a podcast about bitching about the ref. I thought outside of the handball (huge!) and the low stoppage time, the ref was good. We also discussed:

  • The return of Graham Zusi
  • Jake Davis’ off night
  • Fontas being the best player on the pitch
  • The struggles of Pulido, Kinda and others on the offense
  • Leibold’s performance replacing Ndenbe
  • Late subbing (of course)
  • Those dang three weeks off between games

We diverge a bit from the game to talk about the retreat that famously happened after Sporting KC started the season 0-7-3 before defeating the Seattle Sounders. Excellent journalism by Sam McDowell in the KC Star that you should read.

Then we get to the Digital Crawl. We breeze through the following topics:

  • USA eliminated from the U-17 World Cup
  • NWSL Draft announced a date

Here is a quick rundown of topics (and approximate start times):

  • Houston eliminates Sporting KC – 2:39
  • SKC’s tactics – 5:14
  • That dang handball situation and Pulido’s play – 13:04
  • Lots of other SKC/HOU thoughts – 22:47
  • Sporting KC’s famous retreat – 51:04
  • Digital Crawl – 1:00:31

Upcoming Games

Spotify took away our ads, so we turned on “Listener Support.” Don’t feel obligated, but if you have a few spare bucks and a fan of the pod, we’d appreciate your donation.

Big thanks to Splitter Conspiracy (listen to them here) for our theme music made with the permission of the KC Cauldron.

You can find For the Glory KC wherever you get your podcasts. Just search “For the Glory KC” and be sure to subscribe! Here are some helpful links:

Spotify | Apple | Amazon | iHeartRadio | Google | Castbox

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) Sheena essentially runs our FTG Twitter, so that’s a great way to get her takes.

Also, you can find the podcast on all the social media platforms: @ForTheGloryKC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or you can email us at ForTheGloryKC at Gmail.

Transcript from Revoldiv available after about 24 hours. Click the link, then search “For the Glory KC” for a free transcription (or you can transcribe any podcast you’d like).

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