A shocking early giveaway from one of the league's best center backs. A penalty conceded after an opponent's dance through three defenders.
Sporting Kansas City have no one but themselves to blame for falling into an early 2-0 hole in Saturday's 2-1 away loss to Toronto FC, according to SKC manager Peter Vermes.
“When you put yourself behind the eight ball with two goals early in a game in an opposing team's home opener, it's not an easy task,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “We weren't good in the first half. Our movement off the ball was not good enough for us to control the game.”
MATCH RECAP: Earnshaw's brace downs Sporting Kansas City
Toronto – energized by playing at home for the first time under Ryan Nelsen – wasted little time moving into the driver's seat. Forward Robert Earnshaw pounced on Matt Besler's bad square pass and slotted it home in the third minute, then converted from the spot in the 21st after Paulo Nagamura fouled TFC debutant John Bostock in the penalty area.
And unlike Sporting's season opener, when Kansas City rebounded from an early one-goal deficit – also the result of a giveaway in the back – to beat Philadelphia 3-1, there would be no coming back this time.
“You've got to play for 90-plus minutes,” Vermes said. “We've given up some things in the first half, and you can't put yourself behind the eight ball with that kind of play. No way.”
And while acknowledging the boost a home opener can give a team, Vermes said that still was no excuse for the loss.
“We don't want to accept that,” he said. “We want to be able to go into other places and still play. We just didn't do what we needed to do, with those moments early on. You just can't gift things to other teams.”
Claudio Bieler's second goal in as many MLS games pulled Sporting within 2-1 in the 77th minute, but the offense that found the net three times on seven shots against the Union was 1-for-16 on Saturday.
“I thought in the second half, we had a lot more energy and we were a lot more dynamic, and we went after them.” Vermes said. “We created quite a few chances here, there and everywhere. We were just shy of getting back into the game, but credit to them. They struck when they had to. They picked up the one ball, and they got the PK. I haven't seen it, but my assumption is that it was a PK.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.