KANSAS CITY, Kan. – One of these days, maybe, Chance Myers will get a day off. He hopes it’s not for a while, though.
“That was a goal of mine coming into this year, to play every minute of every game,” Sporting Kansas City’s right back said after Tuesday night’s 2-0 US Open Cup win over the Colorado Rapids.
So far, Myers has lived up to that goal. He has played all 90 minutes in all 12 of Sporting’s league games and has gone the distance in both Cup matches. Add in his eight straight 90-minute outings to close out Sporting’s run to the 2011 Eastern Conference Championship, and that’s 1,980 consecutive minutes’ worth of endurance.
“The more games I play,” he said, “the stronger I get instead of wearing down.”
That wasn’t the case early in Myers’ career, though. He made just 13 starts from 2008-10, his first three seasons with the then-Wizards, due in part to nagging asthma problems. With those taken care of last year, though, Myers threw himself into his fitness work and enjoyed a breakout season with 24 starts in 28 appearances.
“It’s just staying healthy,” Myers said. “Obviously the respiratory stuff may have hindered me a little bit, but I just got stronger. I’ve had guys around me to show me the way, show me the path – teammates, trainers, coaches – making sure I’m working hard every day towards my goal.”
Myers’ perseverance has paid off, both for himself and his club.
“Chance didn’t have it easy,” manager Peter Vermes said in Tuesday’s postmatch news conference. “It took him a few years to get himself centered with this group. He fought through a lot of adversity. The one thing about Chance, he has never, ever complained. That guy just figured out that he has to do what he has to do. He has worked really hard. He’s fit and strong and he’s done well.”
And as the right back in Vermes’ high-energy 4-3-3 set, Myers has had to work hard at both ends of the pitch. He’s just as adept at making overlapping runs to send the ball into the middle (Myers’ three assists are tied with Kei Kamara for second on the team) as he is winning a ball from an opposing attacker.
“The past two years he’s been on a different level,” All-Star center back Matt Besler said. “I think the physical aspect of his game is where you see it the most, to get up and down the flank for 90 minutes like he does. In years past, I don’t think you could say he could do it – but now he’s out there showing that he can. He’s just a physical beast out there.”
And with Sporting committed to making a deep run in the Open Cup, Myers is likely to see more action in both competitions.
“I put the guys out there that I feel like are going to help us accomplish the goal and the plan,” Vermes said, “and that is to win.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.