Vermes Exposes Tactical Issues and Injuries in Frustrating Night

Sporting Kansas City faced tactical difficulties and suffered from injuries in their loss to Columbus Crew, revealing a concerning outlook for upcoming matches
Sporting Kansas City v FC Tulsa: Round of 16 - 2024 U.S. Open Cup
Sporting Kansas City v FC Tulsa: Round of 16 - 2024 U.S. Open Cup / Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

On a night where Sporting Kansas City saw their hopes disintegrate against a relentless Columbus Crew, coach Peter Vermes had to contend not only with a strong opponent but also with the limitations imposed by injuries and fatigue among his players. It was a match that exposed weaknesses, questioned tactical decisions, and raised concerns for the near future.

The game began with a different formation, a strategic decision by Vermes based on the physical condition of his players. The intention was clear: to try to contain the aggressive and coordinated style of Columbus Crew, who often put four or five players upfront, exploiting quick and precise combinations in midfield. However, as Vermes himself admitted, the tactical changes, though well-intentioned, were not enough to stem the opponent's momentum.

Follow MLS Multiplex on X (Twitter).

The first 30 minutes brought some relief, with the team showing effort. The tide began to turn when Columbus Crew managed to breach the defense with a precise pass into the box that resulted in the first goal. Sporting Kansas City's confidence started to falter, and a second goal right before halftime sealed the shift in favor of the opposing team.

Vermes didn't hold back praise for Columbus Crew, acknowledging their skill and confidence in play. He was also candid about the state of his own players. The accumulated fatigue was visible, and the lack of viable substitution options only compounded the situation. The team was simply exhausted, lacking the strength to react or alter the course of the game.

The injuries to Kayden Pierre and Robert Castellanos were a severe blow. Pierre, possibly with a hand fracture, and Castellanos, who twisted his ankle, couldn't continue, forcing unplanned changes that further destabilized the team. Vermes lamented the need for such adjustments, which were not part of the original plan and added more pressure on an already burdened squad.

The attempt to revert to the traditional 4-3-3 formation wasn't Vermes' initial plan, especially given the state of his players. He emphasized the importance of sticking with the new formation due to fatigue and the lack of suitable options for certain positions. It was a pragmatic decision but unfortunately didn't yield the desired results.

The second half saw Sporting Kansas City push higher up the field, desperately trying to overturn the scoreline. However, this high pressure left the team vulnerable to counter-attacks, resulting in two more goals conceded. Vermes acknowledged that while the first two goals weren't due to midfield failures, the last ones were a direct consequence of attempting to attack without adequate defensive cover.

The recovery of injured players is a priority. Vermes expressed hope of having some of them back for the next matches, which could provide the necessary boost to reverse the string of negative results. The team needs a tactical and physical resurgence to find their way back to winning form.