Sporting Kansas City: 5 Keys to Their Fast Start in MLS
With their 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, Sporting Kansas City extended their season-opening win streak to five straight matches. It is only the second time in league history a team has won their first five matches. The other? The Los Angeles Galaxy won eight straight to kick off the league's first campaign in 1996.
With that number, five, in mind, here are the five keys to Sporting Kansas City's hot start in 2012.
1. LIVESTRONG Sporting Park
At this point last year, Sporting Kansas City was still two months away from their first home game. Yesterday's game against the Galaxy was their third so far this year.
When you talk to the players, they say they feed off of the energy of the crowd. Considering the energy of the fans at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, they are very well fed, indeed.
2. Graham Zusi
Graham Zusi, MLSSoccer.com's 2011 Breakout Player of the Year, has picked up where he left off. Zusi's assisted on five of the club's eight goals so far in 2012.
The Maryland Terrapin has made himself at home in the Sporting Kansas City midfield. He also seems to be making a case for Jurgen Klinsmann to give him another call up to the US national team.
Defenders Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin have anchored a defense that has put up some pretty impressive numbers so far in 2012. Not only has the team not lost a game yet, they haven't lost a half, either. They only half they fell behind in (first half v. FC Dallas), they equalized just before the end of the half, and scored again in the second half to win the game.
The more impressive number is actually a zero. What does that zero represent? It is the number of shots on goal the team has allowed in the last two matches. That's right, the team has gone more than 180 minutes without allowing a shot on goal. It's hard to lose with defense like that.
4. CJ Sapong
CJ Sapong, the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year, is another Sporting Kansas City player that has simply picked up where he left off.
Including the playoffs last year, Sapong had six goals. So far this year, he already has three.
5. Kei Kamara
Kei Kamara, currently in his third full season with the club, is tied for the club lead with three goals so far this season.
Kamara, one of three players to score nine goals for the club in 2011, is one of the reasons this team is as loose as it is. A big kid at heart, Kamara is well-known for the practical jokes he will play on teammates.
If Kamara and company can keep up the good work, there's no reason why they can't keep this streak going for a while.