Sporting KC holds team meeting after Peter Vermes cites lack of intensity

Video via MLS: Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting KC (3:55)

Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger scored in the first half and the Houston Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0. (3:55)

Sporting Kansas City held an extended team meeting on Monday, two days after coach Peter Vermes said his players "lacked the competitiveness" needed to end a six-games winless streak.

With Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Houston, Sporting have now gone over a month since their last victory, at the New York Red Bulls on April 9.

After the result, Vermes criticized his team's intensity, suggesting some of his players gave less than their all for the team.

"I didn't like it at all. I think there were certain players who absolutely hindered us throughout the game, and unfortunately I couldn't make the kind of moves that I wanted to because people got a little bit tired or strained," Vermes said on Saturday.

"Unfortunately there were just certain people who really hurt us in the game tonight. They were terrible on the ball, and they just lacked the competitiveness that you need in this league to keep yourself in the game, and we lacked that in a few guys today."

The team returned to training on Monday, but players stayed in the clubhouse for over an hour. Benny Feilhaber told reporters the team discussed ways to improve.

"We weren't good enough in more than one aspect, I think," he said. "I think we've had some good conversations about it this morning, among the players and the coaches."

Despite the slump on the field, Feilhaber insisted the team remains united.

"We have a really good locker room. I think everybody is close-knit," Feilhaber was quoted as saying by the Kansas City Star. "Nobody is pointing fingers. It's still so early in the season, as well. We all have all the confidence in the world that we can turn this thing around.

"This league is like that, man. You go through spurts. We just have to flip the 180 and have one game go our way, and I think we'll be back on the right side of things."

Vermes on Monday would not divulge the steps he plans to take to get the team back on track ahead of Wednesday's test at the Colorado Rapids, who lead MLS with 20 points.

"There's no specific thing," he said. "It's so many different things. You can't just say it's one thing. It never is. When you're going through a bad patch, it's a lot of different things, and you've got to make sure that you face them head-on and you get ready for the next game. That's really what it is.

"Changing lineups? Sure, that could be an idea. It could be [that you] give guys who have been playing the opportunity to know that, 'This is unacceptable, and now you have to get yourself out of it.'

"There's different ways to approach it, and the last thing I'm going to do is tell you guys what I'm going to do."

Captain Matt Besler told MLSsoccer.com that once Sporting end the skid it won't take long to get back to a regular winning pace.

"I think any time you go through a stretch without winning games, it's always difficult," Besler said. "It's not fun. As players -- and I'm sure the coaches will agree -- we're all trying to do everything we can to turn things around. At the same time, we all believe in what we're doing. We have to stick together through times like this.

"We're well aware that things can turn around very quickly, and if we put together a couple of results we can be right back where we want to be."