KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Revolution manager Steve Nicol says he doesn’t know how much Benny Feilhaber will play against Kansas City on Saturday.
Sporting manager Peter Vermes is operating under a more concrete assumption.
“If he is available, I would say that they will throw [Feilhaber] right into the starting lineup,” Vermes said.
Ironically, Feilhaber may well have ended up in Sporting KC colors had things gone differently on Tuesday. Instead, the United States national team midfielder’s rights trickled down the allocation list and ended up with the Revolution.
Vermes said he tried to swing a deal for the rights to the former AGF Aarhus player as Chivas USA contemplated their move at the top of the allocation order, but that deal never gained enough traction for Sporting to pick up yet another attacking piece to add to their already impressive cadre of talent.
“He was a guy that we actually targeted prior to the season,” Vermes said. “Because of the allocation ranking, that was the only way he was able to come back to the league, so we already knew where we were in the pecking order.
“I tried in a couple different ways to get higher in the allocation ranking, but it’s just whether or not you can accomplish or solidify the deal. It just wasn’t happening.”
Vermes first encountered Feilhaber in 2005 when he was an assistant coach with the US U-20 team that lost in the second round of that year’s Under-20 World Cup. As Vermes’ efforts to acquire the versatile midfielder clearly show, he believes Feilhaber will have no problem making an impact in MLS after six years abroad.
“I think he will have a really strong impact in the middle of midfield,” Vermes said. “He can go both ways, box to box. He can play as an attacking guy. He’s a good defending guy. He can score. He’s good on set pieces. I think he’ll be a very good player in this league.”
What Vermes is not so sure of is how the Revs will lineup or who they will field. He said Nicol had been employing a 4-3-3 as of late, but with Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan coming back from red card suspension, and Feilhaber possibly moving into the starting lineup, things aren’t exactly cut and dry from a tactical standpoint.
“I don’t know what they are going to do at the moment,” Vermes said. “I’m just going to have to go on what [Nicol] has done over the years and the way his teams play. They play with a lot of fire, they play pretty direct and they try to get after it.”