Sporting Kansas City boss Peter Vermes will be demanding better discipline from his team when they take on LA Galaxy, after hitting out at Cameron Duke’s mistake against Austin FC.

Kansas City went down 2-0 at home in their last MLS outing, with Duke receiving two yellow cards in quick succession at the end of the first half.

It was hugely frustrating for Vermes, whose side – typically competitors in the playoffs – sit bottom of the Western Conference after 24 games.

“Two yellows in two minutes. I don’t know if the first one is a yellow but it really doesn’t matter, but you have it, so you have to be aware, you have to be aware,” Vermes fumed.

“To get a second yellow, in the way that he did… the referee is absolutely correct, you grab a guy, hold a guy, pull a guy back, he’s correct.

“When a team is struggling like we are and then you are that undisciplined it has an incredible negative effect. I tried at halftime to get the guys to rally, they tried, but sometimes things just aren’t going well.”

Sporting face the Galaxy on Saturday, with Greg Vanney’s side having been boosted by the signing of Riqui Puig from Barcelona.

“We are pleased to welcome Riqui to the LA Galaxy,” head coach Vanney said in a release. “Riqui is a very technical and well-educated player with incredible experiences for his age. He will fit seamlessly into our group and style of play.”

Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski said: “Riqui is a very talented player with a unique profile that brings something different to our squad.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

Johnny Russell has scored five goals in six career games against the Galaxy, including three goals in two meetings last season. Russell has scored more goals against just two teams in his MLS career, netting six against both FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders.

LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez has not quite hit the same heights as he did last season, but still has seven goals to his name, though the last in MLS came in early July.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Sporting won both of their matches against the Galaxy last season.

– The Galaxy have won just two of their last 12 matches against Sporting (D4 L6) dating back to October 2015 and have just one win in their last 13 visits to Kansas City (D6 L6) dating back to 2008, a 2-0 win in May 2019.

– Kansas City have lost five straight home matches in regulation for the first time in club history. Since 2012, only one team has suffered a home losing streak of at least six matches (FC Cincinnati – three times).

– After losing only two of their first seven on the road this season (W3 D2), the Galaxy have dropped three straight on the road. The Galaxy have had a longer road losing streak since dropping its last five away games of the 2020 season.

– The Galaxy have scored just one goal in the first half of their last five MLS matches. They scored nine first-half goals this season, tied for second fewest in MLS with only SKC (seven) scoring fewer.