Rich get richer: Defending champs Sporting Kansas City beaming about "exceptional winger" Sal Zizzo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With a couple of goals in preseason friendly competition, Sal Zizzo is already fitting in with Sporting Kansas City.
But while the goals are a nice bonus, both the midfielder and manager Peter Vermes say that what's most important is the way Zizzo is meshing with the club in the areas where he'll be most needed – providing midfield depth and solid wing play.
“Yeah, we brought him in as a goalscorer, so he's been doing great. He's scoring like crazy,” Vermes said jokingly after a training session this past week, “No, he's done well for us. He's going to fit into the way we play really well, and I'm not even talking about the goals. He's an exceptional winger. He's got a great attitude. He's got a good mind for the game, and he's definitely going to be a good addition to our team.”
Zizzo, who came over from the Portland Timbers in an offseason trade, said he'd been welcomed by the tight-knit Sporting squad, who return all but one regular starter from their run to the 2013 MLS Cup championship.
“It felt good,” he said of scoring twice over Sporting's three friendlies in Tucson, Ariz. “But more importantly, I felt the guys are really welcoming and I seem to bond well with the team. I like the guys, and I think that aspect is the most important. It was a lot of fun being down there and learning the style of play. It was great, and I think I adjusted well.”
Vermes said he doesn't worry about how his core players, many of whom have been together for years, will adjust to newcomers.
“I think the one thing about this group is, they're more impressed with guys that are committed to the team, that come in with a good foundation of fitness and work ethic,” he said. “I think those guys survive a lot longer than guys who are sort of just a flash in the pan. He's got a really good attitude. He's got a good work rate, and I think he's really going to fit in well with the group.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas Ciy for MLSsoccer.com.