KANSAS CITY, Kan. – After spending the Eastern Conference Semifinals as an observer, Omar Bravo had to wait all of 85 minutes to make his MLS Cup Playoffs debut on Sunday against the Dynamo.
But by the time Bravo’s number was finally called and Seth Sinovic made way for him late in the second half, he could only watch as Carlo Costly put the finishing touches on Sporting Kansas City’s 2-0 defeat to the Houston in the Eastern Conference Championship.
When the match ended, concluding Bravo’s first season in Kansas City, he made an immediate beeline to the locker room, where he had changed and departed by the time media arrived following manager Peter Vermes’ postgame press conference.
Vermes made two substitutions – Davy Arnaud for Roger Espinoza in the 75th minute and Jéferson for Júlio César in the 82nd – prior to bringing on Bravo with minutes remaining to find an equalizer. Vermes said the decision to wait to insert Bravo came down to his tenuous health and the fact that he had confidence in the group on the field at the time based on their playoff from so far this season.
“Every guy wants to play,” Vermes said. “We have different choices for why we put guys in. You know Omar at the end of the day, he is a competitor like any other player. Guys always tell you they’re 100 percent, but when you can’t play the last two games in a short spell its not the easiest of decisions to throw a guy on and your not sure how he’s going to go.
“So, could I have? Sure. But I think in the end the guys that were out there did a good job. Today, Houston was a better team.”
Unfortunately for Bravo, who played the hero at Livestrong Sporting Park at times this season, a defensive breakdown gave Costly a direct route to goal that he took full advantage of just two minutes after the substitution to effectively end the game.