Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On the red card…

It’s profiling, simple as can be. It’s profiling. That’s all I can tell you. Because it’s Roger Espinoza, he gets a red card. I’ve watched it. If you watch and you know the game, you understand that it’s accidental contact. He is stepping his foot and he actually goes underneath the other foot and when his foot comes down, it steps on the back of his leg. He doesn’t mean to do it. He’s not even looking. He’s getting his feet under him. He just ran 60 yards to return into the play and was slowing down. It’s not a red card.

But it is a red card because, when it comes to us, it is a red card. Just like when we were here last time and Khiry (Shelton) gets hit by their goalkeeper where he has to go to the hospital the next day (and the discipline) winds up being nothing . It’s looked at the next day and everybody is okay with it. Everybody thinks it’s fine. I’ve come to the conclusion that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Last game, our guy is pulling his leg away from a guy. He gets a red card. Our guy gets clotheslined around the neck in (Alan) Pulido and what happens? Not a red card. It’s okay to do what you want to our guys, just like what happens on the second goal. Check the film at 59:25. After they have their free kick, we block it out. Khiry goes up for a header. Latif Blessing jumps all over him. (Khiry) heads the ball. He wins it. He goes for the next ball, wins it. The other guy falls down and we get called for a foul. If there’s anything, it’s a foul against them. Consequently, they then score on the free kick. Do we have to defend better on the free kick? Sure we do. But that (should) never happen.

…We’re down a man and all those other things happen thereafter. Okay, we lost the game. They played well. I can accept that. I can accept that we’re going to get beat sometimes. But in these circumstances week after week, it’s just incredibly frustrating. The players every week have to deal with the same thing. I don’t have any words anymore.

…The fact that Roger gets the red card and then the foul comes thereafter, I’m amazed. We go through this week in and week out. Our guys get looked at and then there’s no foul. And then I get the ceremonial, ‘Yeah, we agree with the call.’ Then this week, ‘We agree with the call.’ And then next week, ‘We agree with the call.’ But when you compare all these calls, they’re all different. There’s no consistency. I’m incredibly, incredibly, incredibly frustrated for the team and for the players for the work that they do every day. That’s what frustrates me the most.

Congratulates to LA. They played well. They had good energy. At the end, that’s what it was.

On the team’s play in the first half…

I thought we could have been a lot faster with the ball. I think at times we were slow. There’s different things. I would never put someone like Jose (Mauri) in his first game like that with such little time but right now we’re down so many players we had to. He actually did okay in the game. I think he has good ideas. He’s got a good understanding of the position. It’s just a shame the game had to be the way it was for many reasons. At the end, we didn’t have enough.

Sporting Kansas City defender Graham Zusi

Thoughts on the match…

I thought we were a bit sloppy in the first half in moving the ball. I thought, in the second half, we came out and we had a better start to the half. I hate talking about refs but, to me, that is not even close to being a red card. Roger (Espinoza) accidentally falls on the guy and gets a red card. The ref even told me that was an accident. It’s crazy to me that’s a red card. The foul on Khiry (Shelton) is absolutely not a foul. He’s standing his own ground. Latif (Blessing) comes barreling into him. It’s absolutely not a foul for me. It’s very frustrating to be out of control in a situation like that. I’m flustered right now because it’s not about how we played but outside factors that lost that game for us.

On the team facing adversity…

We had to push, obviously, which ended up spreading us out and they got a lot of chances there in the second half. That’s the way the game goes when you’re down a man.

On the team’s mentality in those situations…

It takes a strong one. I thought we were maybe a little bit out of our normal mentality in terms of coming together as a group and grinding it out. But I think that’s a bit in reaction to some of the calls that were made.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez

On the team’s frustration…

I don’t have words to describe the behavior of a few referees with this team. I would like to say that this wasn’t, by far, our best game. It was our biggest defeat this season. But if you ask me about the red cards and some of the calls from this game and this referee, it’s very frustrating to fight against this with a few of them. Every time, no matter if they call us here on the road or at home, it’s always harder because we don’t know what to expect from them. Also, we can learn from this and try to stay away from those calls. But, believe me, when you’re on the field and you don’t understand one call and another one and the next one and the next one, it makes it very, very hard to overcome from those calls.

On the play of Jose Mauri…

Well, it was tough. I think that Jose did a very good job. It’s not easy to come into a new team from a different country and not speaking the language and try to perform right away. Also, (after) being quarantined for so many days until tonight. I think he was calm. Obviously, physically he will get better with training and with games. For us, we tried to stay together next to him but the game that we played didn’t allow him and us to do a better job. I think he can help the team going forward. Unfortunately, tonight, we were not able to help him much.

On the team bouncing back after the loss…

The best thing that we know and the fastest way to change this is in the next training session. Come with the right attitude and try to be better. There is no secret. I think this team has a very clear game model. We have very good players for this league. We’re not happy. This is our worst stretch in the season, four games without a win. It’s not acceptable for this team. At least, we don’t accept this happening and I guarantee you that we will change this from our next training session and looking forward to our next game at home against Chicago.

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