MINNEAPOLIS — After a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United on Sunday, Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes insisted his early swap of Jimmy Medranda for Seth Sinovic owed to an injury to Medranda.
Even so, Sinovic's insertion had an undeniable tactical impact.
After Sinovic came on in the 36th minute, Minnesota's previously churning counterattack sputtered to a halt, with the Loons only able to muster two shots after the stalwart left back.
"I don't think they posed any threats to us in the second half," Vermes said. "I think we controlled the game. We had a lot of possession. From that perspective, it was very good. And like I said, we created a lot of chances where we could have gotten a second or third goal."
Despite his side's transformation after the swap, Vermes insisted his decision was more about protecting Medranda's health.
“I could tell he was trying everything he could to play through it, but he was struggling," Vermes said. "I just didn't want to push him any more."
Regardless of the reason, the visitors regained control of play after Sinovic's entrance, outshooting Minnesota 24 to 6 overall and dominating possession in the second half.
Minnesota eventually bunkered, satisfied to walk away with one point against a superior team, even if it was the Loons' home match.
“I would have settled for a point with about twenty minutes to go,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought they looked the more likely to win the game.”
Meanwhile, Vermes departed TFC Bank Stadium a bit frustrated that his side won't be returning south as winners after creating "more than enough chances to win the game." Forward Johnny Russell agreed on a day when he registered four shots -- two on target -- and assisted Khiry Shelton's early goal.
"The effort was there," Russell said. "The effort is always there. That's never a question. But I think technically we just lacked a little bit of quality in the end. It's a game that we wanted to come here and win."