Peter Vermes: I’m committed to being here
Sporting Kansas City made some unwanted history in its debut appearance at D.C. United’s Audi Field Sunday night.
The club’s injury list swelled to 10 names with the addition of Graham Zusi, who missed his first start of the season with an oblique injury. Between the injuries and Gianluca Busio’s absence during a stint with the U-17 U.S. National Team, Sporting KC took the field with a four-player bench, instead of the usual seven — the shortest game-day lineup the club has fielded since manager Peter Vermes took over in 2009.
Sporting KC made every effort to escape the rain-soaked match with a point, but Paul Arriola’s 78th-minute goal proved the difference in a 1-0 win for D.C. United.
“Never as a player or as a manger. I’ve never experienced this many injuries to guys who are in the regular mix,” Vermes said. “Actually I think we deserved so much more. We had a good performance for the number of guys out. We had very good continuity, and we deserved at minimum a point,” Vermes said.
Sporting KC (2-4-4) saw its winless streak extend to eight matches. A potential draw was in its sights before Arriola got the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box. He had time and space to put the ball on his right foot, and his swerving smash went off the fingertips of Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia and into the net.
Sporting KC was gifted an opportunity to equalize moments later, when Krisztian Nemeth got a free run at goal after a D.C. United defender slipped on the soggy turf.
Nemeth fired from the right wing, 10 yards from the goal, but missed the target entirely. Sporting KC got one final opportunity on a last-second set piece in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but Graham Smith’s header went wide.
It was the club’s second straight game without a goal.
“We’re not creating as many (chances) for sure, but we are creating some. We’re doing some good things,” Vermes said. “In a situation like this, you lack confidence. This game should give us more.”
Smith and Nicholas Hasler each made their second starts of the season on Sporting KC’s depleted back line. The club wasted no time returning midfielder Benny Feilhaber to the mix after reacquiring him in a mid-week trade with Colorado.
Feilhaber started in his season debut.
“I got exactly what I expected. I knew he’d be good on the ball and manage the game when we needed it,” Vermes said. “He’s got to get back into things with some of the guys we have now.”
Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia, who became a father for the second time earlier last week, finished the match with three saves.
The club returns to action on Saturday night against Vancouver at Children’s Mercy Park