After spending most of the previous month in Walt Disney World for the historic MLS is Back Tournament, Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler was back home Thursday for his customary appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB with Border Patrol host Nate Bukaty.
Besler and Sporting finished atop Group D of the unprecedented competition and advanced to the quarterfinal stage before falling to the Philadelphia Union. Manager Peter Vermes’ men currently sit atop the Western Conference with 12 points and a 4-1-0 record, one point shy of Columbus Crew SC in the Supporters’ Shield race.
As for Sporting’s experience in Central Florida, Besler was incredibly pleased with how well Major League Soccer conducted the competition in a safe, inside-the-bubble setting.
“The bubble worked, which says a lot,” Besler said. “Going into Orlando, nobody knew if this was going to work or not. There were a lot of reservations that people had, and the fact that the league was able to throw this (event) together with limited resources and time, I think the tournament overall is a major success.”
While Sporting’s ultimate goal of winning the tournament didn’t come to fruition, Besler believes the club is well-positioned for success for the remainder of the year.
“When you take a step back and take a picture of where we’re at right now,” Besler said, “we went down to Florida to start the tournament and we were in first place in the Western Conference. We came back home in first place, as well. That puts us in a really good position to go forward this season.”
Besler and Sporting will now eagerly await the resumption of the 2020 MLS regular season. As confirmed by Commissioner Don Garber on Wednesday night, MLS plans to continue with a revamped regular season schedule, followed by the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and 25th MLS Cup.
Until the revised match schedule drops, Sporting will be busy training at Compass Minerals National Performance Center.
“We went back to training yesterday and it’s so weird because it feels like the start of the season again,” Besler said. “This is like our third preseason. It’s like you’re a kid again and you’re going back to school on your first day and you’re feeling really excited. We’ve experienced that three or four times already this year.
“It’s great that MLS is trying to push the envelope and play as many games as possible,” he continued. “In some of the markets where (cities) are allowed to have fans, we’re going to have fans at our games, too. That gets us closer to where we want to be in terms of normal life.
“We don’t really know how everything is going to happen, but right now we’re in a position to restart, and that’s what we’re going to do…We’ve just got to take it as it comes.”