Sporting Kansas City ended a two-match losing skid Saturday with a 2-2 tie against Toronto at home. Here are three things we learned:
Peter Vermes not happy with officiating
Shortly after the final whistle of Kansas City’s 2-2 draw with Toronto, manager Peter Vermes spent several minutes having an animated conversation with the referees. His main complaint? The disparity in foul calls.
Vermes named two main points he was attempting to make with the officials. The first was that too many cautionable offenses were being let go, allowing players a “free pass” to continue holding, grabbing jerseys, etc.
And the second complaint?
“I think the foul-calling is inconsistent when certain players are on the ball,” Vermes said. “There could be a player on their team on the ball and he gets supposedly fouled, the referee blows the whistle. When one of our guys is on the ball, and the same thing happens, same exact type of foul, but it doesn’t get called, I have a problem with that.”
The kids are here to stay
There’s not much reason why Sporting Kansas City should expect many results when its starting lineup is littered with teenagers, at least by MLS standards. But Jaylin Lindsey and Wan Kuzain have played way above their pay grade the past couple of weeks. And everyone is noticing.
Vermes called it “punching above their weight class.” And they are: Lindsey had several solid runs in Saturday’s match, and Kuzain was steady in the midfield. On a night where several key players were missing due to injury and/or suspension, the contributions of Sporting’s youngest were even more important.
Johnny Russell might need a rest
Russell scored Saturday against Toronto for the first time since April 20, when he bagged a hat trick against Vancouver. Still, it might be time to think about resting the forward for a couple matches so he’s fresh before the season’s home stretch. Russell admitted after Saturday’s match that this was the longest stretch he’d played in his career without a break, since he was coming off his European season right when preseason with Sporting started.
Plenty of players previously on the bench have stepped up in recent weeks. But there’s no overstating how important it is that Russell is fresh and 100 percent heading into the final months of the season.