In its third match over a seven-day span, the Crew couldn't capitalize on the momentum from Wednesday's midweek win over the Houston Dynamo in Saturday's road clash at Sporting Kansas City. An early penalty awarded to the home side set the tone as the Black & Gold eventually fell 3-0.
Following Claudio Bieler's seventh-minute tally from the penalty spot, it was an uphill battle for Brian Bliss' side. Soony Saad added a second just before halftime, while C.J. Sapong provided Sporting's third in the 55th minute.
"It's tough to play from behind early on," Bliss said after the match. "It's very difficult to play from behind against a quality side playing on their home field. I thought tactically we were set up pretty well to do what we wanted to do. Things seemed to be going our way, but we had a mental lapse on a short corner that caused the PK. Then the giveaway in the back, whether it was field-induced or not, I don't know, but that was the second goal and it was uphill from there."
Added defender Chad Barson: "It's ever easy [going down early]. You give them momentum, you're on the road. It kind of just dampens your spirit a little bit when you let them get up early on you."
Slated to return from a two-match suspension, Designated Player Federico Higuaín was a late scratch after an adductor strain in Friday's training session.
Bliss would not use Higuaín's absence as an excuse.
"He was injured, he was scheduled to play," Bliss admitted. "If I could have, I would have used him. Trust me, it had nothing to do with the tactics on that."
The Crew will have a full week of training under Bliss before its next match against Montreal next week.
"That will be big, just to get a week under our belts to kind of figure out the way we want to play and actually have a full week of practice," rookie forward Ryan Finley said.
"No midweek game will be big in gearing up for Montreal."