When Sporting KC dropped the 5-1 result in the CCL match at Cruz Azul Wednesday night, it felt like the worst loss of the Vermes era. The 4-0 loss at Philadelphia in 2012 was probably worse, it was to a much worse team after all, but the individual match meant far less. After tough losses, it can be hard to put them behind you. Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes spoke after practice on Friday about moving on from the game and CCL play in general.
Q: With so much emphasis on that game it has to be hard to put it out of your mind, the players' minds. What do you say to the team?
Vermes: "You've got to play another game, you gotta go, turn around is quick and that is really it."
Q: Are there any lessons to take from that game?
Vermes: "There always is, no matter what way you win, lose or draw. I think you always do. The thing is I think we did not play with a lot of confidence down there, I told the guys, that was one thing I was disappointed in. Our expectations were to try and win there; we would be crazy if that is not the way we thought, we would be in the wrong business. You can't play at home one way and then play a completely different way when you have the ball in someone else's place. That is not us, we don't do that normally. We weren't strong mentally during the course of that game. It's definitely a valuable lesson going forward. For us it was a very valuable lesson. It was a good environment for us to play in and we can really take a lot of that for the end of the season. I always say that I think one of the reasons we were successful last year was because of the group stage we went through. I thought that helped us in the playoffs."
Q: So the experience gained was valuable at least?
Vermes: "I like to think that any experience we get has been in our favor because we like to turn it into a learning lesson. Our guys have always been pretty good at remembering and learning from those things."
Q: The match was between the top team in Mexico and the top team from MLS, how did the talent match up?
Vermes: "I think their teams are deeper than ours are for sure. It is no disrespect to our teams but its reality. They just have a bigger selection because they are able to pay a lot more money to acquire those types of players on the deep side of their roster. When you are playing head-to-head against another team that is under the same rules and regulations that you are, it is comparable. That is why there is a lot of parity in our league but when you go outside of it, on the international stage it is different and that is something that has to continue to be assessed as we move forward."
Q: Has MLS been closing the gap?
Vermes: "Oh yes, I am not saying we are miles away or anything but there's a difference. Another thing in those games is the other component. It's very difficult to come in at this time of year, no matter what the situation is. It's very difficult to come in this time of year when we are just starting our season and other teams we are playing against are already playing. They are in their last third of the season, they've established so much and there is a foundation there and we are still trying to create a foundation. Look at their last four games back, they've played the same exact team in every game and they've been playing Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday and they can because they've built up that ability to do that."
Q: Any way CONCACAF can move the CCL games a bit to allow MLS teams to get a couple more games in before facing the in-season Mexican teams?
Vermes: "It is a scheduling deal , part of it is our deal but they are looking at it."