On Saturday night Sporting Kansas City lost the away leg of their two-game playoffs series against the New England Revolution, 2-1.
It wasn’t a very fluid performance by either team and the field itself added to the ugliness. In true high school soccer form, New England’s field was all decked out with Patriots logos and American football yard markers and such. It was very distracting to watch on TV, to say the least. And it reminded viewers that the MLS is still just the MLS.
But aside from the atrocious field, KC still had its chances, but could only put one in the net, which was a deflected ball that bounced through the box and found the foot of Aurelien Collin for the tap in.
At that point, KC was already trailing 2-0, so to get back that one goal was huge. Or, should I say, BIG?
“It’s a big goal,” KC boss Peter Vermes said afterwards. “It’s a big goal. It’s a big goal for us to lessen the gap. It’s good.”
While Vermes was generally pleased with his team’s performance, he didn’t hesitate to call out the refs – one of his favorite pastimes. He took particular issue with New England’s first goal, which Jimmy Nielsen initially blocked before the ball ricocheted back into the path of an onrushing Revs striker who finished the play.
“Did you see the replay?” Vermes asked the reporters gathered around. “When all three guys – when the shot’s taken – all three guys are offside. They can’t get an unfair advantage on that situation. It’s an easy call. It obviously doesn’t go that way, but we haven’t gotten any of those calls all year long, and we can’t ask for them now.”
He also pointed out a pretty obvious foul that easily could have resulted in a penalty for KC, but didn’t want to dwell too much on it. Just a little bit.
“Just like C.J. in the box, when he’s manhandled, taken and pulled down; it’s right in front of the referee, and he doesn’t want to call it,” Vermes continued. “Those things are going to happen, and we’ve got to get on with it. We’ve got to get ready for the next game.”
One thing Vermes did not want to talk about, though, is Sporting’s Designated Player Claudio Bieler, who has barely appeared over the last month and a half, and who didn’t even make the trip to Boston for the game.
When asked about the Bieler situation, Vermes said, “Just tactical reasons.” Hmmm.
Seems like Vermes has a bit of a DP problem. This is looking like Omar Bravo part II, which reportedly revolved around a rift between player and coach. Does Vermes’ hardcore style (and flat top) just wear thin on Latin American players? Are the expectations unclear? Something’s not right, I can tell you that much.
So now the series heads back to KCK on Wednesday night, for the final game of this aggregate series. KC needs to win by two goals to win the series and advance outright.
If the game were to end 1-0 in favor of KC, the teams would then play overtime.
It’s going to be nutty out there at Sporting Park, I can tell you that.
“We’re expecting an unbelievable crowd like we always have,” said Seth Sinovic. “Playoffs make it even that much better for our home crowd. We’re going to have to put on a show for them, and looking to get the result.”