With injuries part of their All-Star past, Sporting KC nervously send quartet to Portland
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The MLS All-Star Game hasn't exactly been kind to Sporting Kansas City since their 2011 rebrand, and adding yet another player to the mix only ups the chances of something unfortunate happening again.
Still, manager Peter Vermes said forward Dom Dwyer deserved to be the fourth member of his club's All-Star contingent even before his selection on Sunday as a replacement for injured Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe.
“He should have been in from the first place,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “It's simple. The guy's the second-leading scorer in the league, and he doesn't get brought it? So I think everybody's fortunate that he did get in.”
Dwyer, who has 14 goals for Sporting this year, joins a trio of All-Star veterans – midfielder/winger Graham Zusi and center backs Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin – two of whom have picked up knocks in previous appearances.
Last year, playing against AS Roma at Sporting Park, Zusi picked up a quad strain that sidedlined him for three league games and Sporting's CONCACAF Champions League opener. And two years ago in Philadelphia, Collin's collision with Chelsea's Michael Essien put the big Frenchman out for two weeks with facial fractures.
None of Vermes' players got hurt in the 2011 game, but Sporting's manager wasn't pleased that All-Star coach and then-New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe – whose team had a match against Kansas City the following weekend – kept forward Omar Bravo on for almost the full 90.
“Stuff can happen,” Vermes said. “Those guys have to be smart, the way they go into that game.”
Losing that many key players for the week – all four will rejoin the club in Vancouver for Sunday's game against the Whitecaps – also puts a crimp in training, Vermes said.
“It definitely takes you out of your rhythm, when so many guys are away,” he said, “especially when you're trying to get prepared for the next game. But it is what it is, and you've got to deal with it.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.