Sporting KC

MLS is back: Sporting KC preparing for tournament in Orlando against familiar foes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Major League Soccer will be the first professional league to return back to action, but it won’t be a Children’s Mercy Park.

Instead it’ll be at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

Sporting KC will face Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids, very familiar opponents.

“We knew we were going to get the Western Conference teams. We’re going to have to play them all, no matter what at some point,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said.

The return to Orlando will feature a very strong COVID-19 testing plan for the entire tournament. For health reasons, due to the heat, there is an 8 a.m. start time along with a 9:30 p.m. start time.

“We have been all about getting on the field as soon as possible, in individual workouts, small group training, full team training and now just playing games. We’re just going to have to deal with what comes our way,” Vermes said.

A big advantage for Sporting is that they were one of the first three clubs to start training at the home facility. Recent weather has also helped.

“We’re going to stay here in our own environment as long as we can,” Vermes said. “The heat right now helps us immensely because it will help us adapt and adjust to the heat down there.”

The disadvantage is simply playing a game.

“The timing of the guys is really off, so when a long ball gets hit in the air, you can see guys are almost like, ‘How do I judge this?’ because they’re not just into that repetition, that routine they’re normally in,” Vermes said.

But the big thing is they have games to look forward to.

Vermes said he will wait as long as possible to get down to Orlando. Those games start July 8 with the schedule to be released next week. 

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