KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Playing at home in a new stadium for the first time wasn't enough to get Sporting Kansas City a win.
After opening the season with 10 straight road games, Sporting had hoped the debut of Livestrong Sporting Park would see the end of a nine-match winless streak. Instead, a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire on Thursday night left coach Peter Vermes fuming.
It wasn't at his team's effort, especially after Kansas City had to play a man down for much of the second half. Vermes' ire was directed at referee Michael Kennedy.
Vermes felt Kennedy denied Sporting a penalty kick by not calling a red-card foul when Bratislav Ristic tackled Omar Bravo hard inside the penalty area in the 86th minute.
''Maybe he needs to get his leg broken for it to be a red card,'' Vermes said.
Bravo, who had to be taken off the field on a stretcher, stayed out of the controversy.
''That's the game. That's soccer,'' he said through an interpreter. ''It happens. People make mistakes.''
Despite the obvious shot of energy from a loud, standing-room only crowd of 19,925, Kansas City played to its third straight draw and has not won since a season-opening 3-2 victory at Chivas USA.
Chicago also recorded its third straight draw, the second straight without a goal, and has not won in 11 matches since beating Sporting 3-2 at home on March 26. Still, goalkeeper Sean Johnson tried to play up the positive aspects of back-to-back shutouts.
We stressed over the last couple games being compact, being on the same page, and I think it worked tonight,'' Johnson said. ''It's definitely a good thing when you can string shutouts together, when your unit's cohesive.''
The Fire had a late chance when backup Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg failed to hold Dan Paladini's shot, but Orr Barouch's point-blank strike hit the crossbar.
''I tried to place the ball and I hit the crossbar,'' Barouch said. ''I knew I had a chance to win the game, but I just got unlucky.''
Sporting's best chance came in the 15th minute when Graham Zusi put a shot past Johnson from 8 meters, but Bravo was ruled offside on the play.
Kansas City had to play a man down after the 67th minute, when keeper Jimmy Nielsen drew a red card for handling the ball outside the penalty area.