SEATTLE – Sporting Kansas City’s season is over following their 1-0 Knockout Round defeat to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Thursday. But to hear head coach Peter Vermes tell it, it’s his side that would be moving on to the Western Conference Semifinals were it not for some controversial calls.
One of those calls came on a second-half slide tackle from Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who upended SKC’s Benny Feilhaber with a lunging tackle while already on a yellow card. Though Sporting lobbied for a second yellow that would've sent Alonso to the locker room, referee Ismail Elfath did not whistle for a foul on the play.
“Alonso should have been thrown out of the game, which would have changed the game,” Vermes said. “I can’t understand how you don’t give Alonso the second yellow. They’d be playing a man down, we’d be in position to control the game even more so than we did.
“It’s easily deserving of a second yellow in the open field like that.”
Another disputed call came in the 53rd minute when SKC center back Matt Besler looked to have found the game’s opening goal after heading home a free kick from Feilhaber. But Besler was whistled offside and the goal was negated, a call that Vermes claims was also missed.
Finally, on Sounders forward Nelson Valdez’s 88th-minute game-winner, Vermes said that Valdez should have been whistled offside and his goal waved off.
“We scored, our guys was onside. They scored, their guy was offside,” Vermes said. “They scored their goal in an offside position, referee misses it. Changes the outcome of the game.
“We walk away with an incredible bad taste in our mouths because we didn’t lose the game. We got the game taken away from us.”
It was a result made even tougher to swallow, Vermes said, given that he felt his side controlled the action for much of the match. Feilhaber was particularly menacing on Thursday, slicing through Seattle’s backline to create multiple opportunities and delivering pinpoint services on set pieces.
“The statistics don’t lie in this game,” Vermes said. “We dominated this game from beginning to end.
“We all put a lot of work into what we do. The [players] understand that. As I said to them, they put all the effort into this game and through the season and to have it taken away from this point of view, I’m just so disappointed for them. But there’s not really much I can do. They know it and now it’s about getting back and getting ready for next year. That’s really it.”