Never one for self-praise, Manager Peter Vermes was probably oblivious to the fact when the full-time whistle blew on Saturday night at sold-out Children's Mercy Park. But when Sporting Kansas City had secured a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids to move four points clear at the top of the Wester Conference, the 10th-year boss had reached a major milestone at the helm.
Vermes had claimed the 150th victory of his managerial career, adding another feather to an already impressive cap that includes four major championships since 2012 and the sixth-most regular season wins in the history of Major League Soccer.
When Vermes was appointed manager in August 2009, Kansas City's professional soccer franchise was amidst a five-year trophy drought and hadn't made legitimate noise on the MLS landscape for just as long.
Oh, what a difference a decade can make. Currently the longest tenured manager in MLS, Vermes has steered Sporting KC into a new era of championship-caliber success at Children's Mercy Park. His team has captured an MLS Cup, three U.S. Open Cup titles and advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs for seven straight seasons.
All the while, Vermes has also served as the club's technical director, leading integral soccer operations such as scouting, roster management, the development of a thriving Sporting KC Academy, and the oversight of two-time USL Western Conference champion Swope Park Rangers.
SPORTING KC MANAGER PETER VERMES
Only three players on Sporting KC's current roster were at the club when Vermes took the reigns in 2009. That list consists of three World Cup veterans in U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi as well as Honduran Roger Espinoza, who entered an exclusive club on Saturday.
Tied for third in MLS with five assists this season, Espinoza logged his 200th regular season appearance for Sporting KC. He became the ninth player to achieve the feat, joining Besler and Zusi as active players to have hit the milestone.
MOST GAMES PLAYED FOR SPORTING KC
(MLS REGULAR SEASON, ALL-TIME)
|Player||Games||Years in KC|
|Matt Besler *||236||2009-present|
|Graham Zusi *||228||2009-present|
|Roger Espinoza *||200||2008-2012;
* Active player with Sporting KC
Saturday’s result sets the stage for a mouthwatering cross-conference clash on Wednesday when Sporting KC visits Atlanta United FC in a matchup of the top two teams in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Kickoff at world-class Mercedes Benz Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO. The official watch party will take place at No Other Pub in the Kansas City Power & Light District, featuring $6 Till Vodka cocktails and an all-you-can-eat buffet with bottomless domestic draft beer.