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There will be no complacency at Sporting Kansas City

Feb 19, 2014, 8:46 PM EDT

Sporting Kansas City v Montreal Impact Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City has big ambition this year, hoping to get back into U.S. Open Cup championship territory and making some noise about becoming the first MLS club to conquer CONCACAF Champions League.

Oh, and there’s that MLS Cup title defense thing, too!

Either way, manager Peter Vermes promises there will be no complacency this year. You can already see it at work.

Sporting Kansas City chiseled out a 1-0 win today over the New York Red Bulls in preseason contest that featured something very close to both clubs’ first-choice lineup. But Vermes wasn’t exactly thrilled with his starters, and he wasn’t afraid to say so.

What he told the club’s website:

To me, the first group didn’t work hard enough and part of that is smart enough, as well. They just didn’t combine the two things: intelligence and work ethic. Because of that, we had to run a lot more. We didn’t do the things that we normally do. It’s good because I can use it against them all here the next couple days and I will.

Hmmm. Anyone else wonder if Vermes is looking for opportunities like this one, chances to push his players and periodically remind them that no amount of “fat and happy” will be tolerated?

Of course, there’s another way to motivate players, and that’s with the threat of more players (read: “potentially better” talent) coming in. Here, too, Vermes could have just been goosing his guys, grinding the gears and looking for more out of his charges. Or …

There’s a good possibility that there’s going to be a few more players that will join the team. We’re still working on those. The roster is like a living, breathing entity. It never is fixed. It’s never done. You’re constantly looking to improve and things change within the group. I always say, players don’t stay the same. You’re either getting better or you’re getting left behind.

With two front line men (Matt Besler and Graham Zusi) sure to miss a major chunk of May and June for World Cup duty, perhaps Vermes just wants some roster reinforcement. Benny Feilhaber remains on the U.S. roster bubble, too, so that would be a threesome of lost starters.

Or, maybe the manager is looking for cover behind DP striker Claudio Bieler, who fell out of favor late last year.

Or, maybe he wants a player who is comfortable playing way out wide. It’s the one thing SKC’s roster seems to lack, a pure winger, one who could provide some diversity in the way Vermes’ men can attack the opposition – although lack of one certainly didn’t hurt too badly in 2013, did it?

(MORE: SKC trades Teal Bunbury to New England)

  1. crossmlk - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    By trading Bunbury they clear 200K of cap space and I imagine they got at least 150K in allocation money. That creates enough space for another DP. I don’t know if that’s their plan but they certainly could. They could also wait until the summer window to see if it’s even necessary.

    • mikeevergreen - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      There are rumors of Drogba, but he won’t come to SKC. Lukas Podolski? That’s another matter.

      • crossmlk - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Drogba wouldn’t come to KC for a couple of reasons. One I don’t think he’d consider going to the small market and two SKC wouldn’t offer in the first place. I don’t think paying big bucks to acquire older players is in SKC’s DNA although a big physical forward like Drogba is what Vermes likes. They’d sooner go get another Uri Rosell or Jimmy Medranda (by the way did he look good or what yesterday!) than an older player I think.

        Podolski would be someone I think SKC might consider but he’s making 7 million pounds currently (11.62 million dollars). I’m not sure if SKC would consider him at that price. Does his contract run out in May? If not I’m sure the transfer fee would be substantial and who knows if he’d be interested.

  2. hildezero - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Sporting is the highest hope in the CCL.

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