Peter Vermes - Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders FC - April 15, 2018
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Quotes: Peter Vermes reflects on preseason win and discusses Champions League challenge

Sporting Kansas City claimed a 4-0 victory over Sporting Arizona FC on Friday in their first tune-up of the 2019 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy. Manager Peter Vermes spoke with media following the match at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. His remarks are below.


On Sporting’s overall performance in the 4-0 win…

We played three different teams and mixed the group up quite a bit. I like the fact that all three teams resembled how we want to play. There’s already a good, solid foundation of fitness to be able to play 30 minutes like we did. All three teams got a clean sheet, and each group scored at least one goal, which was good as well. From a general perspective, those were the positives.

On what he was watching for as the scrimmage unfolded…

One of our objectives was to look at the new guys coming in and see how they have grasped some of the concepts very early on. Obviously we haven’t had a chance to do all of that at this point, but we got to see how they grasped some of those concepts and how their individual qualities work within the way we play and with the players around them.

On the preseason performance of newly acquired forward Erik Hurtado…

He has a very good attitude, strong mentality and great work ethic. He has a good understanding of playing with the ball and being simple while at the same time having very good movement on the field, especially when we’re pursuing an attacking action. He reads the game in those situations well, and I think he’s just a handful for the opposing team’s defense because he’s very explosive. He has a strong build and finds himself in good spots. In a short period of time, he’s shown that he has a strong mentality, good attitude and is very coachable.

On whether Sporting will be fully fit by their first competitive match, a Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 showdown against Deportivo Toluca FC on Feb. 21 at Children’s Mercy Park…

I’d like to hope so, but it’s probably asking a little too much because by the time we get there, we still will not have played an MLS game yet. It’s going to be our first real competition. That’s where the real difficulty is going to take place, and obviously we’re playing a very good team in Toluca. They’re already in the middle of their season, so us trying to get in form and being 90-minutes-fit at a very fast pace is going to be the biggest hurdle. Toluca will already have that in their system. Our approach is to try and get as close as we can to that 90-minute fitness while also playing at a good pace. It’s just going to be difficult.

On how motivated Sporting is to make a deep run in the Concacaf Champions League…

The motivation is always to win anything that’s out in front of you. I think the group is motivated to try and do very well in the competition, but you have to get through the first series. That has to be our focus at the moment. I would talk more about trying to get past (Toluca) before I would talk about winning anything. As I said, I think we have a monumental task with who we drew first. How we did that, I don’t know. But there’s nothing we can do about it—we have to get ready for that game and that first leg has to be our focus. Hopefully we’ll then have a good indication of what we have to do in the second leg.

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