There was nothing – not even Dwyer's first MLS goal – to celebrate in Sporting Kansas City's locker room after Saturday's 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls dropped them to second place in the Eastern Conference.
Vermes, Sporting's manager, was upset both by their failure to turn a 27-5 shot advantage into a win and by yielding three goals – two on counterattacks.
“The bottom line is, we need to put the ball in the back of the net,” Vermes said in his postmatch news conference. “There were too many good chances there for us not to score and our desire in the second half to close that game out was not of Sporting level. The guys are going to feel this one; they’re going to feel it from me.”
Sporting conceded three times for the second time this year, the first since a 3-2 home defeat to Portland on April 27.
“We gave up three goals that were horrendous goals. All of them,” Vermes said. “All three of them were bad on our part. With me, that is unacceptable. Those goals were horrendous today.”
New York's second goal, from Fabian Espindola in the 63rd minute, put the Red Bulls up 2-1 and came as Collin called for an offside on the forward. After the match, Collin insisted he was right – “I saw the replay. There was offside. I did my job” – but also said Sporting had to bear a share of the responsibility for conceding.
“I don't like to make excuses,” said Collin, who was cautioned for dissent after Lloyd Sam's 69th-minute goal for the Red Bulls. “Even if I'm very upset about the work of the referee, it's part of the game. If we would have done our job a little better, we would have won that game.”
Nielsen, Sporting's goalkeeper and captain, said the team's failure to maintain defensive focus was uncharacteristic.
“That's not who we are as a team,” he said. “Last year and earlier this season, the team got a lot of credit for having a huge passion for defending. That was nonexistent today. That's a shame. I feel very, very bad and I'm very, very embarrassed for our fans today. This is not who we are, and we should be ashamed of what we did out there today.”
Dwyer, meanwhile, said he would spend Saturday night replaying one moment in his head – not the header in the second minute of stoppage time that opened his MLS account and pulled Kansas City within 3-2, but the one he banged off the crossbar in the 82nd minute.
“If that one goes in and the other goes in, it’s a point,” he said. “I’m disappointed about that, but it was nice to score a goal.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.