Peter Vermes turned his back away from the Sporting Park field, screamed a few words of frustration toward no one in particular and reclaimed his seat on the Sporting Kansas City bench. Another early scoring chance had gone awry, eliciting the impassioned reaction from the club's coach.
There were plenty more like it.
Sporting KC outplayed rival Real Salt Lake on its home field Saturday, but it failed to find the back of the net, ultimately settling for a 0-0 draw in front of a sell-out crowd of 20,087 fans.
"It's a funny game sometimes," Sporting KC captain Matt Besler said. "Last week, we didn't play our best, and we get three points. It's vice-versa (tonight)."
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The sour conclusion was made worse in the 82nd minute, when Sporting KC defender Ike Opara left the match with an apparent left leg injury. Arguably the team's most valuable player through five weeks, Opara missed most of the 2014 season after suffering a chondral defect in his right ankle, an injury that required surgery and threatened his career.
Vermes said Saturday's injury occurred on the opposite leg, but he was unable to provide a further update immediately after the match.
Opara winced in pain as he reached for a header Saturday, then stayed on the grass for several minutes before requiring the aid of two trainers to leave the field. He was replaced by Kevin Ellis, who finished the game alongside Besler in the center of Sporting Kansas City's defense. Opara will see a doctor Sunday or Monday for a complete diagnosis.
A bitter ending.
A mostly frustrating 90 minutes.
Sporting KC, 2-1-3, controlled the bulk of the play, and it spent the majority of the match in its attacking third. None of it produced a tally.
Dom Dwyer appeared to break the scoreless tie 10 minutes into the second half — using a nifty slide to deflect a cross from Benny Feilhaber into the back of the net— but the play was correctly ruled offside. That came on the heals of a chance from forward Krisztian Nemeth that collided with the right post.
"It was a game we controlled. We're obviously disappointed not to get three points out of it," Dwyer said. "We just couldn't put it in the net today.
"Well, we could. But we were offsides."
In a rematch of the 2013 MLS Cup Final, Real Salt Lake, 2-0-3, appeared content to settle for the tie to remain unbeaten through five matches. It failed to put a shot on goal Saturday for only the fourth time in club history.
As a result, it has not won a match in Kansas City since Sporting KC played its home games inside a minor league baseball park. It has scored only once in five matches at Sporting Park.
"We dominated the game. We deserved much more than we got," Vermes said. "But the positive is that we played very, very well."
The chances were plentiful. But they weren't exactly high-quality.
While the Real Salt Lake defense was tested for most of the evening, keeper Nick Rimando needed to make only one save for the shutout. Sporting KC keeper Luis Marin recorded his third clean sheet.
"We created a lot of chances around their goal, (but) I don't know if there were many clear-cut chances," Vermes said. "They sat back. It's not like they came in flying. They sat back to come in here and do what they do — get a point."