UPDATE, Sept. 21: FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez gave his response to Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes accusing his side of time-wasting antics in their Saturday match at Children's Mercy Park.
Speaking to reporters on a Monday video conference call, Gonzalez defended the integrity of his players when he was asked about Vermes' pointed postgame comments that saw him call Dallas players' behavior "disrespectful".
"This is one coach’s opinion and he has the right to his opinion,” Gonzalez said in Spanish. “I know my group. I know my team and they play with a lot of integrity. If you look at cards, we’re one of the teams with the fewest cards in the whole league. OK? I always show respect to the players and coaches. At the end of the game if there’s perhaps problems from an ethical standpoint, there are consequences. Bryan Acosta had two yellows and he got a red card and we’re playing with a man down. So there are consequences. Instead of having five additional minutes like the referee said, he added eight minutes. There are consequences."
"The referee’s decision is right," he added. "There are consequences if there are things he doesn’t like in time-wasting – these are things that happen in soccer. I want us to continue competing and fighting for the jersey and fighting for themselves and showing personality. If you don’t play with personality in Kansas you won’t get out. You have to go play with personality and fight for the jersey. But you always have to have a balance and respect. I’m going to protect my players."
Gonzalez also commented on the interaction that took place between him and Vermes on the field after the match that saw Vermes approach the Dallas coach and appear to offer some choice words.
“There were some words between the benches and he wanted to give me his opinion about words from my bench to his bench," Gonzalez said. "He has the right to tell me. I heard him and I thanked him for letting me know.”
But the SKC boss was fuming about FC Dallas’ “disrespectful” “antics.”
Vermes was referring to tactics that interrupted the flow of the game he believes largely went unpunished by referee Alex Chilowicz, who brandished six yellow cards to FC Dallas players, four of which were for time wasting in the final 20 minutes.
“If you want people to watch the games in this league whether it’d be live or on television, fans don’t want to see those types of antics in the game,” Vermes said. “If we’re puzzled at times why people don’t come to watch you play, or why they don’t watch you on TV, I think you look at those antics and people don’t want to see them.
“I’m involved in this game and I’ve been since I was born. And I don’t want to see those things. I don’t understand why the fan would want to see those types of antics in a game. I think it’s disrespectful to the sport. I think it’s disrespectful to the league. I think it’s disrespectful to everybody who’s involved in Major League Soccer, whether that be fans, owners, staffs, players. Those things just don’t belong in our game. I wouldn’t want to see it and I think most people don’t want to see it.
"But the referee has got to manage that," Vermes continued. "I thought at times he was really good and I think at times … I think that referees have the easiest job in the world to manage behavior on the field and they have the chance with cards and with that whistle to shape the game. And when players are making a mockery of it, it should be taken care of by the referee crew and unfortunately at times in today’s game it wasn’t. In other situations I thought he did very well. I think there are things that Alex actually does really well in the game but I just don’t think that those things should be allowed.”
Michael Barrios' time-wasting yellow card
While acknowledging all teams “manipulate the clock” especially when ahead late in the game, SKC forward Johnny Russell said FC Dallas took that to a new level Saturday.
"I think it happened so many times. I’m not making excuses. We shouldn’t conceded the goals we conceded. That’s not why we lost the game,” Russell said. “But it’s frustrating when you're a team that wants to keep it moving and wants to play at tempo. When a team comes and it happens so many times and it goes unpunished. I know they started punishing them at the end. But the free kick right at the end. That’s not even time-wasting. That’s just complete disrespect and they take it. The amount of times they kick the ball and just silly little things like that that break up the rhythm of the game.
"I’m not making excuses, that’s not why we lost the game. We lost the game because of the chances we let them create and we didn’t stop it," Russell continued. "But when you’re a team who likes to play the way we do and the time-wasting is just ... we all manipulate the clock at times when you’re winning games. We all do it. But certain teams do it to a whole new level and it goes unpunished.”