The public-address system broke down for the national anthem, but the sold-out crowd at Sporting Park, led by the fans in the Cauldron, delivered a spirited rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
• Claudio Bieler, who had missed three of the previous four contests after a suffering a groin injury, entered the game in the 66th minute for Dom Dwyer.
Matt Besler has returned from national team duty and rested Friday, while Ike Opara made his third straight start.
“I’m giving him a little time,” Sporting coach Peter Vermes said. “He spent with that (national) team. I want to get him hungry, healthy and rested as we make the push here at the end because we have a lot of games coming up.”
• Vermes’ tone was measured, but you could almost see the steam rising from his collar as he opened up on his frustration about opposing teams’ delay tactics in the second half.
“Week after week, it’s amazing to me how the game isn’t managed from a delay perspective,” Vermes said. “It blows me away. How many guys are going to lay down on the ground. At some point the referee has to take care of that.
“If you’re in the entertainment business do you want to watch a game where everybody is playing slow? Or do you want to want to watch a game where it’s up and down the field and flying? It’s a big part of our league.”
Vermes was particularly miffed when a ball was kicked away by a Union player after a foul was called.
“It’s a yellow card,” Vermes said. “If you (call) that nobody does it any more. It changes the game because now we can put the ball down quickly and we can play and get going again. But you lose that advantage when it’s not managed properly.”
Vermes said this delay tactic occurs throughout the MLS and damages the league.
“It’s a major issue in our league,” he said. “You don’t see don’t see this in other big leagues around the world that are successful. We have a big problem with it. It’s tiring.”
| Blair Kerkhoff email@example.com