Manager Peter Vermes enters 2020 as the longest tenured head coach in Major League Soccer and the first boss to spend 12 consecutive seasons with an MLS team. He has experienced tremendous success during an illustrious Sporting Kansas City tenure, hoisting four major championships and leading the side to eight straight playoff appearances from 2011-2018.
The former U.S. international and MLS star would be the first to admit that 2019 fell short of expectations, which makes Vermes all the more determined to pick up the pieces and build another title contender in 2020.
After a long but eventful offseason in which several fresh faces joined Sporting’s squad, the MLS regular season will finally begin in earnest on Saturday with a visit to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. To preview the curtain raiser, Sports Radio 810 host Soren Petro welcomed Vermes to The Program for a must-listen interview ahead of Week 1.
With a seasoned core returning plus arrivals like Mexican striker Alan Pulido, Israeli midfielder Gadi Kinda and high-caliber center backs Roberto Puncec and Winston Reid, Vermes likes the complexion of his team.
“The way the returning players came back, the way they did their work in the offseason, shows me that it definitely meant something to them,” Vermes said of Sporting missing the playoffs last year. “Their pride was wounded a little bit. The question is how do you react to that? So far, the reaction has been very good.
“Then you’ve got a group of newcomers that we brought in who don’t have any attachment to last year at all, but they’re coming with the desire to prove to people, ‘You made the right choice in picking me to come here. I want to be here and help this club.’ We have a great combination of those two (aspects) that we’re hopefully going to get a lot out of.”
Listen to the full podcast below.
Saturday's Western Conference battle will mark the first time ever that Sporting has kicked off an MLS season in the month of February, giving eager fans an early dose of MLS action as opening weekend commences across the United States and Canada.
Supporters can catch the game on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO, including 30 minutes of pre-match and post-match coverage with Bukaty, Peterson and touchline reporter Carter Augustine on the call. Fans can also listen locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).