It wasn't the best possible showing for Sporting Kansas City as they ended their preseason match against PDL side FC Tucson in a draw. With the absence of some on national team duty and of their new designated player Claudio Bieler, it may not be the best demonstration of what the team will look like when March rolls around.
"A couple of things you have to take into consideration," started Sporting head coach Peter Vermes. "We are just getting back into the swing of things. We are putting a load on these guys in a week of training."
"The other piece is we have to bring these new guys into the team and indoctrinate them into our way of playing," he continued. "With all that being said, there are some good things and some bad things."
The team, he points out, played this game as a practice.
"We got 45 minutes for all our guys and no one got injured."
Point taken. Vermes is concerned about game fitness (to a level he refers to as "Sporting Fit") and building a roster that will be competing in the CONCACAF Champions league in addition to the usual MLS and US Open Cup schedule.
"It's really about first putting all the guys on the roster that need to be on the roster," he explained. "We gotta cut it down...we've got to figure out who the best eleven are, who will make the eighteen week after week. When we get closer to those competitions then it's about seeing who is in form and then who we can cross over between competitions."
Part of Vermes's plans for more depth on the roster are draft pick Mickey Lopez and supplemental draft pick Christian Duke, both of whom came into the second half of the match.
"They did a good job of keeping the midfield, and also implementing the things we have been working on in training," he said of the two players. "It's important to see how fast they learn and make those things part of their game. That part is good; that's a real positive."
"I'm starting to get used to how they want us to play and how they want me to play," said former North Carolina player Lopez. "We have to press when we need to press, and keep making movements off the ball."
Does Lopez feel he is "indoctrinated" into the system yet?
"I'm not fully there, but I'm getting there," he said. "I feel that as preseason goes by, the more practice we get, I'm getting more comfortable."
Kansas City takes on Portland in another preseason match on Friday night.