An under-strength Sporting Kansas City suffered a 6-1 defeat at home to Club Leon in the quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup Tuesday.
Liga MX side Leon was three up at the break through Santiago Colombatto and two goals Omar Fernandez.
Cameron Duke appeared to give Kansas City some hope with a goal just after the hour, but Angel Mena immediately scored a fourth goal for the away team. Jean Meneses (72) and Víctor Davila (78) completed the rout.
Kansas coach Peter Vermes said afterward he had no choice but to rotate his roster, and did not regret the decision.
“We’d like to win everything that we play in. But unfortunately when you’re playing seven games in 22 days; we played four games in the last 11 days — altitude, travel, away from home — the reality is that I’m not going to risk guys that have high [physical] loads,” Vermes said after the match. “I’m not going to risk them. I’m just not going to. And so obviously, it was a very young team in a lot of respects. And that is what it is.
“That’s the decision I had to make. And anybody wants to make a criticism to the team, they can make it at me, I’ll take the blame on it. I’m the coach, no problem. Bring it on, I’ll take it.”
Leon will play away to New York City FC or Pumas in the semifinal next month.