When he first came off the pitch after Saturday's 2-0 loss at New England, Peter Vermes told Sporting Kansas City's sideline reporter that he couldn't comment on center back Aurélien Collin's red card because he hadn't yet seen the replay.
By the time Sporting's manager got on a conference call with reporters a few minutes after that, he'd seen it – and he didn't agree with Collin's ejection, which came in the 74th minute with no score on the board, for sliding into the Revs' Diego Fagundez.
“After viewing the tape, we think it's extremely harsh,” Vermes said. “It was probably a yellow card at best. Obviously, the referee gave it a red. I thought we dealt with the situation pretty well. I thought we were pretty organized, and I thought we were keeping them out of our box. We managed that last 15 minutes pretty well.”
But in stoppage time, Teal Bunbury – traded away by Sporting in the offseason, opened his 2014 account against his old club with a game-winner off his thigh. Lee Nguyen's penalty kick shortly before the whistle made it 2-0, but defensive midfielder Uri Rosell avoided sanction for the hand ball that led to the spot kick.
“It's a shame,” Vermes said. “When we got the red card to begin with, on the other side – the opponent's goal – we should have scored on the counter. It would have made the game 1-0 at that point.”
Benny Feilhaber pushed his close-range shot just wide right in the 77th minute, though, and Sporting looked to be hanging on for a point until Bunbury's late winner.
Vermes said he hadn't decided whether to appeal the red card, especially with Ike Opara out for the year after ankle surgery and 17-year-old Erik Palmer-Brown – who hasn't yet played a competitive minute for the senior squad – the only other true center back on the roster.
“From what I saw, I don't think it was a red card,” he said, “but the unfortunate thing is that a lot of times they get overturned because of mistaken identity or stuff like that, or the referee has a terrible angle. Unfortunately, they may just say it was his decision on the field. So I can't tell you at this point. I just think it was harsh."
Vermes also didn't know the extent of Sal Zizzo's groin strain immediately after the match. The right winger had to come off for Jacob Peterson in the 55th minute, after overextending himself as he went for the ball.
With midfielder Toni Dovale having to come off in the 44th minute because of illness, and Lawrence Olum subbing in to provide defensive help after Collin was sent off, Sporting were left with no available late substitutions.
“We had a lot to manage right there,” Vermes said. “Obviously, it would have been nice to have a couple of those subs late in the game, because it would have given us some fresh legs.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.