KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The story of Sporting Kansas City’s start to the season was struggling to win on the road, and holding strong at home.
Saturday, the club’s struggles made their way to Children’s Mercy Park where the SKC gave up two unanswered goals in the second half to fall 2-1 for the first time at home.
“Terrible mentality. Terrible defending mentality. Just terrible. Horrendous,” manager Peter Vermes said.
Following the game, Vermes was not happy with his team’s starters overall and mentioned a difference in mentality when the second half substitutions made their way into the game.
“When we made changes there a was a difference in the game, there was a buzz,” Vermes said. “There was a completely different mentality going. We have guys that aren’t putting it in and those guys are going to find themselves in a different place.”
With the loss, SKC fall to 2-5-0 on the season and near the bottom of the Western Conference.
Midfielder Remi Walter found the back of the net in the 25th minute after winger Daniel Salloi made a decisive pass that found left back Ben Sweat, who then cut it across the face of goal and found the run of Walter.
The Frenchman leads Sporting KC with 2 goals on the season.
Nashville took advantage of set-piece plays and found goals from David Romney and former SKC forward C.J. Sapong.
“You either want to fight for it or you don’t the fact that we don’t clear those balls, we don’t get to them first that’s mentality,” Vermes said.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia saved a penalty from Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar in the first half and agreed with Vermes’ comments about defending on set pieces.
“He’s 100% right, because on the first one – say whatever we want about the ref, the call, it doesn’t really make a difference – the play happens. There’s too many guys open on the back stick. When the ball goes out wide, we’re not shifting,” Melia said. “It’s something that we have to look at as players; no one else but the players, because we’re the ones on the field. We’re making the decisions. We’re controlling the results at that point. We all need to do better, myself included.”
Moments after Sapong’s goal gave the visiting the lead, Marinos Tzionis and Nikola Vujnovic were called over from sideline warm-ups to put on their jersey and enter the game.
“Those two guys were really good and they were a handful for the other team. They caused a lot of problems so that was really good to see,” Vermes said. “I would look forward to seeing those guys a lot more going forward because if other guys go out and don’t want to play, don’t want to fight for it, we’ve got other guys that have to step up and give them a chance.”
Sporting find themselves at the start of a losing streak and head on the road for a matchup with LAFC and former Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez on Sunday.