Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes accepted the blame for the 6-1 defeat against Liga MX side Club Leon in the Leagues Cup, saying that their schedule of seven games in 22 days forced him to make game-changing roster decisions.
Prior to the match, Vermes predicted a difficult confrontation but warned that young players would make an appearance over veterans. He later justified that decision to the press to mitigate the repercussions of the final score.
“That's the decision I had to make,” he added. “And anybody wants to make a criticism to the team, they can make it at me, I'll take the blame on it. I’m the coach, no problem. Bring it on, I'll take it.”
“We'd like to win everything that we play in. But unfortunately when you're playing seven games in 22 days; we played four games in the last 11 days – altitude, travel, away from home – the reality is that I'm not going to risk guys that have high [physical] loads.
“I'm not going to risk them. I'm just not going to. And so obviously, it was a very young team in a lot of respects. And that is what it is.
Though Major League Soccer and Liga MX continue to collaborate in several tournaments, Vermes pleaded the need for more exposure to younger players in hopes to raise the level of quality. While congratulating Club Leon, Vermes admitted Major League Soccer isn't quite there yet to outshine their southern neighbors.
“A lot of these kids that are in our team should have already played against Leon’s 15s or 17s four or five times before they even play this game, so that they know what they're playing against,” said Vermes.
“But we’re just not there yet. We're working towards it. So when that happens, that'll be great. But I still think the experience for our guys was good, because they were shown what it's like playing against a team of that caliber.”
Sporting Kansas City is out of the Leagues Cup and will redirect their attention to maintaining their top spot of the MLS Western Conference.