After seven matches across all competitions in just under a month, Sporting Kansas City finally get a breather.
The defending MLS Cup champions began their bye week on Monday, after getting out to a 2-1-2 start in league play and being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League with a two-leg quarterfinal loss to Mexico's Cruz Azul.
After Saturday's scoreless home draw against Real Salt Lake, which saw backup keeper Jeff Attinella make eight saves for the visitors to split the points, Sporting are off until they host Montreal on April 19.
“I think the break is coming at a good time for us,” manager Peter Vermes said after Monday's light training session. “With as many games as we've played to start out the season, with the Champions League and all the travel and everything, I think it comes at a good time.
“I feel good about our play,” Vermes sadded. “Very, very happy with our performance over the weekend.. Now it gives us a chance to refine some things and then get ready for our next performance.”
Sporting don't have any glaring issues that need to be addressed, Vermes said.
“It's the little details of things that we like to do, and we can spend some time now to sort of refresh the group on those things,” he said. “Whether it's defensive stuff, or whether it's attacking stuff, it's all parts of the game but it's really the details.”
Sporting currently sit third in the Eastern Conference with eight points, one behind Columbus and Toronto FC, and have seen three of their matches – one win, one loss and one draw – decided in the 89th minute or later.
“I think what'll happen is, after the first third of the season, I think teams start to make their distance a little bit,” Vermes said. “But the point is to always try to be in the hunt. I think that's the most important part for us, and I'm sure it is for most other teams. But for us, we just want to maintain being in the hunt – but more importantly, keep building toward getting better performances as we move forward.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.