After Sporting Kansas City broke Houston's MLS-record home unbeaten streak and became the first visiting side to win at BBVA Compass Stadium in any competition, manager Peter Vermes spent as much time showing respect to the vanquished Dynamo as he did praising his own club's effort in victory.
“These men here, with the record that was standing, that was a tremendous feat,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Sunday night, after Aurelien Collin's 73rd-minute header lifted Sporting to a 1-0 victory. “Nobody has done that.”
Before Sunday night, Houston had gone unbeaten in 30 league matches – 36 across all competitions.
“It should be understood that our hats are off to Houston,” Vermes said. “It's a tremendous streak they had here at home. For them to do what they've done is tremendous, and they should be extremely proud. They're a very good team, they've been very successful, and what they've done is something that should be admired by everyone in the league.”
And for his team to break that streak, picking up three important Eastern Conference points in the process, was no small accomplishment.
“I'm happy for the guys,” Vermes said. “I thought they did an unbelievable job. I thought their attention to detail, to the game plan, was tremendous. I don't have a critical thing to say about one guy on the team. I thought everybody worked hard and just gave everything they had on every play, concentrated on everything. I'm incredibly proud of the work ethic, the effort and the intelligence throughout the course of the 94 minutes.”
That game-long focus came just four days after Sporting commited several stoppage-time gaffes and were punished with a late goal in a 1-0 home loss to Seattle.
“I don't really want to talk about Wednesday that much,” said Vermes, who sharply criticized his club's second-half play after that defeat. “What I will say is that the concentration and the work ethic on this field, and the challenging for every single ball on the field, was absolutely fantastic.”
But while he planned to give his players a couple of days' rest, after a string of three matches in eight days, Vermes said the mental preparation for next Sunday's match at last-place D.C. United would begin sooner than that.
“You can enjoy it for a night, and then you've got to get on with business,” he said. “We've got a big match coming with D.C. We're not going to take D.C. lightly.
“We were in that position a few years back,” added Vermes, whose 2011 Sporting side started 0-6-1 before coming back to finish atop the East regular-season standings. “We know what can happen.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.