Sporting KC face selection headaches ahead of DC opener

ORLANDO, Fla. – It will be an interesting seven days for Sporting Kansas City.

As they prepare for their 2012 season opener against D.C. United (March 10, 7:30 pm ET), SKC manager Peter Vermes could have a midfield dilemma on his hands.

In Saturday afternoon’s intrasquad scrimmage at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar and Paulo Nagamura all sat out and their availability for next Saturday is in doubt.

“I think they all have just little nagging injury type things,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We have a couple days that we’ve already given them. We’ll give them a couple more and then we start up Tuesday fast and furious getting ready for D.C.

“So hopefully at that point they’ll be back in training. That’s what I’m hoping for. If not, we’ll have just to go with other guys. But right now I think they should be ready or at least a tandem of them should be ready for the game on the weekend.”

Zusi and Julio Cesar started just one match each in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, while Nagamura was in the first XI for his club’s final two matches of the tournament.

Sporting Kansas City looked their most dominant in the opening match, despite a 0-0 final result against the Houston Dynamo.

After a reserve side battled valiantly in a 1-1 tie with Montreal, the starters retook the field but were defeated handily by Vancouver 3-0. In the latter match against the Whitecaps, the starting midfield trio of Julio Cesar, Nagamura and Bobby Convey, who filled in for Zusi at attacking mid, struggled to impress.

“It [loss vs. Vancouver] came at a great time,” Vermes said. “It gets you 10 days right before the first game. Maybe you think things are going well and you deal with a little bit of adversity. … But our preparation has always been for DC. And nothing else has changed.”