FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes did not see the decisive own goal in Saturday night's 3-1 defeat at New England as the line of demarcation for his team. He simply saw it as the instance of a problem that manifested through the entire night.
Vermes labeled the wrenching tally -- Lee Nguyen’s rasping effort bounced off the near post and deflected off Kevin Ellis for the Revolution’s second goal after 75 minutes -- as a “really tough own goal,” but he also noted how it proved another instance where Sporting KC overcommitted defensively and paid the considerable price.
“It’s a really tough own goal, but I don’t think anybody looked at it in that way,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I think it was more that it was a corner kick, it came back out, they cycled it back around and we actually didn’t have enough guys at the back stick.
"If you don’t have your people there, not only are they going to get a chance, but, as the ball ricochets and comes back, you’re not in a good position. Sometimes, it’s going to happen to you.”
It happened more frequently than usual for Sporting KC on this particular night. The three-man defense in the first half prompted some spacing issues, particularly on Kei Kamara’s opener after four minutes. The second and third goals resulted from similar bouts of aggressiveness, even thought the visitors improved after halftime after Graham Zusi replaced Nuno Coelho at halftime and Sporting switched to the more familiar 4-3-3 setup.
“I think tonight, in too many situations where they actually scored, it was because of our overcommitment,” Vermes said. “You overcommit. You leave yourself exposed. And, I think, with a lot of things, we exposed ourselves.”
The fallout eventually blunted the impact of Sporting KC’s bright start after halftime and the resulting equalizer from Dom Dwyer in the 50th minute. The punishment doled out in the final 15 minutes reinforced the perils created and squandered a chance to potentially pick up critical points in the bid to stay ahead of Seattle and Portland in the Western Conference race for the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
“We equalized and I thought we had good rhythm at that point,” Vermes said. “To give up the next two, that was a little disappointing, for sure.”