Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes entered rarified air on Sunday.
A pivotal 1-0 victory over the MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers, highlighted by Jacob Peterson's 50th-minute header, gave Vermes 100 regular season wins for his MLS coaching career. The result not only offers Sporting Kansas City some breathing room in a heated Western Conference playoff race, but vaults Vermes into an elite group of coaches who have reached the century mark.
"That’s big-time for Peter and this franchise," Sporting KC defender Ike Opara said postgame. "When he took over, they were in a little bit of a rut. I remember coming to San Jose and watching how Sporting evolved over the time that he has been the coach. Luckily I got to come here as well and see it first hand and what he has meant. The pride, the passion, he lives and breathes KC and this team. He demands success and it shows throughout the club."
Among the eight men who have won at least 100 regular season matches, Vermes becomes just the fifth — alongside Sigi Schmid, Bruce Arena, Dominic Kinnear and Steve Nicol — to hit triple digits with a single club. He and Nicol are the only coaches in the group to spend their entire tenure with one team.
"I didn’t realize [the 100th win] was coming until someone had mentioned it to me the other day," Vermes said Sunday after the match. "That has been one of the biggest things; the fact that it has been with one club. I don’t look at myself as a mercenary or someone who goes from place to place. I see myself as more of a builder, and being a part of the growth of this development is probably more of a humbling aspect."
ALL-TIME MLS COACHING LEADERS: REGULAR SEASON WINS
|Coach||Wins||Wins by Club||Years Active|
|1. Sigi Schmid||228||LA - 79
CLB - 34
SEA - 115
|2. Bruce Arena||199||DC - 61
NY - 16
LA - 122
|3. Dominic Kinnear||158||SJ - 46
HOU - 112
|4. Frank Yallop||130||SJ - 99
LA - 18
CHI - 13
|5. Bob Bradley||124||CHI - 82
NY - 32
CHV - 10
|6. Steve Nicol||112||NE - 112||1999, 2002-2011|
|7. Jason Kreis||101||RSL - 90
NYC - 10
ORL - 1
|8. Peter Vermes||100||SKC - 100||2009-present|
Five of Vermes' 100 regular season victories have been at Portland's expense, including Sunday's rainy fixture at Children's Mercy Park. And while the manager's milestone achievement deservedly grabs the headlines, Sporting Kansas City continued a remarkable streak against the Timbers that should not be ignored.
Portland has now failed to score in five consecutive regular season meetings against Vermes' men. The dry spell spans 482 minutes and dates back to April 2013, when the Timbers bagged a 3-2 win in Kansas City. Since then, Caleb Porter's side has been stymied, stifled and scoreless against their Western Conference counterparts.
Amazingly enough, Sporting KC's 482-minute shutout streak against Portland is only the fourth longest against a single opponent in club history. An opportunity arises this coming Sunday to extend the streak to 572 minutes, as the clubs wrap up their two-game set in a nationally televised clash at Providence Park (3 p.m. CT, ESPN).
KC'S LONGEST SHUTOUT STREAKS VS. SAME TEAM (REG. SEASON)
|New England Revolution||593||2011-2014|
|San Jose Earthquakes||517||1999-2001|
|Columbus Crew SC||472||2006-2007|
As Sporting Kansas City prepares for a travel-heavy month of August — an arduous period that will see the club visit Portland, Dallas, Trinidad and Tobago, Vancouver and Philadelphia, in that order — the club can reflect on June and July as an enormously successful run at home. After stumbling to a 3-4-1 record at Children's Mercy Park, the club has rattled off five straight regular season home wins in the same season for the first time since July 2015 and just the third time during Major League Soccer's non-shootout era.
KC'S LONGEST SINGLE-SEASON HOME WINNING STREAKS (REG. SEASON)
|Win Streak||Time Span|
|7 games||March - May 2000|
|6 games||May - July 2015|
|5 games||June 2016 - present|
"A bunch of guys have stepped up and have really met the call for duty," Vermes said. "The consistency in the group is one, and the other is we are not making mistakes. We are managing games a lot better than we did at the beginning of the year. That’s a good thing. We have six or seven potential starters on the injured list right now. That’s a good thing moving into this month of August where we have 13,000 miles of travel and the number of games we are going to play. It is important for those guys to start to get back and they are."