Peter Vermes Kerry Zavagnin USOC

HOUSTON -- Typically, when a team has more possession of the ball and more passes strung together, they take home a win. So Wednesday’s 3-1 US Open Cup loss to the Houston Dynamo left Sporting Kansas City scratching their heads.

Sporting KC dominated the possession battle against Houston, 62 percent to 37, and had more passes, 514 to 318, but only came away with one goal to show for it. “We didn’t create anything of value other than the goal,” said Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes.

So did the Dynamo do anything in particular to stifle the Sporting KC attack? Vermes put it simply: “Dynamo deserve the game.” He added that his team suffered from “a lack of going forward, lack of aggressiveness, penetrating runs -- it just wasn’t there."

The fact that this was a US Open Cup game, and not regular MLS season play, was no excuse, Vermes said.  “Any competition that you enter is the ability to win something," he said. "And every time you step on the field to play a game, if you’re not playing to win, you shouldn’t be playing at all. You should leave. You should retire. You should tear up your contract.”

Vermes added that he didn’t believe in the notion that MLS teams take the US Open Cup for granted. In fact, it's clear he takes this tournament seriously--he's led Sporting KC to two US Open Cup titles, in 2012 and 2015.

“You’re either gonna play," Vermes said, "or you're not."