KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sometimes, you have to wonder why people even ask.
Whatever roster challenges Sporting Kansas City's MLS schedule might pose ahead of next week's US Open Cup final at the Philadelphia Union, manager Peter Vermes doesn't want to talk about them – or even, it seems, acknowledge them.
“If you're asking me, the Open Cup final, is it important? It's hugely important to us, absolutely,” Vermes told reporters on Monday. “But we have a game Wednesday. That's all I can deal with right now. All the other stuff doesn't matter. I have two games before that. There's nothing else to talk about.”
Union manager Jim Curtin, whose club is headed into their second straight Open Cup final after finishing second last year, has already said he'll do everything he can to field a fresh lineup for the Sept. 30 match at PPL Park. But Vermes, who managed Sporting to a shootout win over Seattle for the 2012 Cup title, said the only thing that matters to him right now is Wednesday's away date with Houston (7:30 pm CT, 38 the Spot, SKCTV).
After that, he said, Sporting's top priority will be Sunday's home match against the Sounders (4 pm CT, ESPN).
“You're asking me about Jim Curtin,” he said. “Jim Curtin is for Philadelphia. I don't coach there. I coach here. We have a game Wednesday.”
This sort of thing is nothing new for Vermes, who is loath to discuss lineups and typically lists anyone who's not in a walking boot as “day-to-day.” And to be fair, Vermes – who closed Monday's training session and will do the same on Tuesday – does have a bit more on his plate than Curtin.
The Union, sitting ninth in the 10-team Eastern Conference, have little but the Open Cup final left to look forward to. Sporting are fifth in a crowded Western Conference race, just four points off the lead – and four points above the red line – going into midweek.
“Everything has an impact,” Vermes said. “There's not one thing you can take out of there. You know all the scenarios, so everything is a part of your decision making, for sure.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.