Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes is one of three finalists for MLS Coach of the Year, Major League Soccer announced today.
Vermes, who was previously an MLS Coach of the Year finalist in 2011 and 2012, is up for the annual award alongside Gerardo “Tata” Martino of Atlanta United FC and Bob Bradley of LAFC. Sporting KC went a combined 3-0-0 against Atlanta and LAFC this season with six goals scored and just one allowed from the penalty spot, also shutting out both teams in their home venues.
The 2018 MLS Coach of the Year recipient will be announced at a later date.
Now in his 10th year as manager, Vermes has guided Sporting KC to a first-place finish in the Western Conference and overseen one of the best regular seasons in club history. The 2018 campaign saw Sporting KC set team records in goals (65), assists (69), goal differential (+25) and shots (583) while amassing 18 wins and 62 points, both of which are second-most for the club all-time.
As the league’s longest tenured manager, Vermes leads all active MLS coaches with eight straight playoff appearances. Over the course of 2018, he has employed an attractive and effective style of play with Sporting KC ranking high in each of the following categories:
- 1st in shots per game (17.2)
- 2nd in shutouts (13)
- 2nd in possession (57.1%)
- 2nd in passing accuracy (83.8%)
- 3rd in goal differential (+25)
- 3rd in defense (1.18 goals allowed per game)
- 4th in offense (1.91 goals scored per game)
Vermes also thrived as an in-game manager—Sporting KC led MLS with 12 goals from substitutes, the most in club regular season history—and facilitated the breakthroughs of four Homegrown Players. Forward Daniel Salloi leads the team with 11 league goals and 13 in all competitions, while 20-year-old Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, 18-year-old Jaylin Lindsey and 16-year-old Gianluca Busio have each made notable impacts with the first team.
Vermes, who signed a contract extension through the 2023 season in May, navigated his side to the top of the West despite multiple injuries to key players. Starters Khiry Shelton and Felipe Gutierrez both missed two months of action, Jimmy Medranda and Cristian Lobato suffered season-ending injuries, and defenders Matt Besler, Ike Opara and Seth Sinovic were all sidelined for short spells in 2018.
As the No. 1 seed in the West, Sporting has earned a Knockout Round bye to the two-legged Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. Vermes’ side will play away in the first leg this Sunday and host the decisive second leg on Sunday, Nov. 11. Tickets for that match—the first playoff tilt to be played at Children's Mercy Park since the 2013 MLS Cup—are now available via SeatGeek.com.
In the conference semifinals, Sporting KC will face the lowest-seeded team to advance from the Knockout Round, with No. 4 FC Dallas hosting No. 5 Portland Timbers tonight at 8:30 p.m. CT and No. 3 LAFC hosting No. 6 Real Salt Lake at 9:30 p.m. CT Thursday.