KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vemes saw nothing unsporting about how his club scored their game-winner against the Columbus Crew, and he doesn't see why anyone else would.
After Kei Kamara's 80th-minute goal lifted Sporting to a 3-2 victory on Saturday night, Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha and goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum both said Sporting KC should have played the ball out of bounds after Crew midfielder Bernardo Añor went down with a leg cramp in Sporting's penalty area.
But even before the visitors' complaints surfaced, Vermes questioned the timing of Añor's cramp and said his team was right to press forward with a counterattack that led to Kamara's second goal of the night and fourth in four matches.
“There's a gamesmanship in this game,” Vermes said during the postmatch news conference. “People, a lot of times, will pick very, very interesting moments to decide that they need to go down and get a little bit of treatment. And, as Kei will tell you, when he played in the EPL, there's no stopping for those things. You just go.
"And all the teams respect it, that they're not going to stop and kick the ball [out of bounds], because it's all part of the play.”
Vermes said he wasn't even aware Añor was down, because he was watching his own club take off down the pitch.
“We had to go. We had an opportunity,” he said. “It was time for us to counter.”
And had Añor cramped up with the Crew still in an attacking position, Vermes said, he doubted they would have stopped play.
“Obviously, if the ball would have popped out for them in that situation and they would have had a shot on goal, I don't think they would have taken the ball out of bounds,” he said. “I think they would have taken the shot on goal.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com