VANCOUVER, B.C. - Sporting Kansas City stemmed a three-game losing streak in Vancouver on Wednesday night, fighting back for a 1-1 draw with a 10-man Whitecaps side at BC Place.
But it was a game that produced mixed feelings for head coach Peter Vermes, who was pleased with a road point on the one hand, but disappointed that his side had a man advantage for most of the second half but couldn't seal the deal for all three points.
"I thought we had pretty good energy playing away from home," Vermes told reporters after the game. "Getting a point, yeah it's ok, but whenever you go up a man you always want more.
"I thought we actually had a couple of opportunities here and there, but they did a good job or really compacting the middle and also their two lines... Listen, any time you go on the road in this league and get a point, it's a pretty good thing."
The game in Vancouver was KC's second road match on the West Coast in four days. The tough schedule saw Vermes ring the changes, going with a completely different three-man strike force from the side that drew a blank in the 1-0 loss in San Jose on Sunday.
Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi and Brad Davis were all rested and came on as second half subs, giving the chance for Diego Rubio to shine in only his second MLS start. The Chilean responded with his first ever goal in the league, delighting his coach.
"He's played a couple of games now," Vermes noted. "He was pressing way too hard to score. It's what he wanted to do so bad, but I thought it took him out of his game and I had a long talk with him and I just said 'Listen, you've got a lot of other things that you've got to bring to our team. When you get your chance, it'll come and you won't have to force it'.
"I thought today he did a lot of other things for us in the game outside of scoring but I also think it was good for his confidence to put one in the back of the net. For any goalscorer, that's an important aspect."
Sporting KC's recent form has been in stark contrast to their strong start to the season that saw them go unbeaten in March with three straight wins. Vermes isn't too concerned with the recent blip and feels his side has been punished for solitary mistakes in their recent outings.
"This league is very interesting," Vermes mused. "It's interesting because anybody can beat anybody on any given day. It doesn't matter what your lineup is, there's just so many different variables that go in to it. But I also think a lot of teams. at least in the first ten games, are always searching a little bit for their identity. No matter how long the team's been together, it's always a new year."