Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
You probably would've done less praying with your leading goalscorer available, coach.
Um...where's Claudio Bieler?
A better question: Where's the designated player who led Sporting Kansas City in scoring (10) and shots (70) this season?
According to Andrew Wiebe, head coach Peter Vermes' decision to leave Claudio Bieler in Kansas City was a "tactical" one. The club's leading goalscorer didn't even travel with the team for the first leg of Eastern Conference semifinal.
The 29-year-old has failed to record a start since Week 28. Oddly enough, Bieler finished that 76-minute shift with a goal and an assist. A slight groin strain took him out of the lineup the following week.
He hasn't returned to the starting XI since.
So, shall we break down the "tactics?"
SKC averaged one goal per match the final six weeks of the season. That's nearly half a goal fewer than their average entering Week 29 (1.46). True to form, the club chased an equalizing goal in the final 21 minutes of the match on Saturday. It never came.
The equalizing goal never came with SKC's leading goal scorer not even in the same state.
The New England Revolution captured a 2-1 victory at home. Kansas City's only goal came from Aurelien Collin in the 69th minute.
Better "tactical" decisions will be needed if Coach Vermes hopes to avoid being bounced in the first round...again.
Everywhere you looked this weekend, football lines tortured you. Three of the four playoff matches in the first leg of the conference semifinals were played with the gridiron plaguing its reputation.
When is enough enough?
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