In the short term, Peter Vermes hasn't ruled out using new World Cup veterans Matt Besler and Graham Zusi in Sunday's home match against the Chicago Fire (3 pm ET; ESPN). And in the long term, Sporting Kansas City's manager and technical director likes his chances of keeping Besler and Zusi in MLS and in Sporting blue even if overseas clubs come calling during the summer transfer window.
“I'd put our club up against the majority of clubs in the world,” Vermes told reporters after Friday's training session. “Obviously, we maybe don't compare in the fact that we don't have the same pocketbook they do, because of our salary cap. But outside of that: the facilities, the stadium, the game environment, fans, city to live in – this is the best country in the world, the United States, and you're living in Kansas City. You think about it. It's a great place.
“And then the final piece that you evaluate when you go somewhere – yeah, maybe I'm going to go somewhere and make some more money, but am I playing on a regular basis? I look at it like this,” Vermes added. “Why would they want to leave? All their success has been found here. Why do you want to move on if you're here, you make a good living and you have all that opportunity?”
Besler started all four of the United States' matches in Brazil, earning good marks for his play on the left side of central defense. Zusi had three starts in the midfield and appeared in all four matches, with two key assists – although he sometimes struggled in service – during the group stage.
Besler, in particular, has become somewhat of a celebrity, making the morning-show rounds in New York along with Seattle's DeAndre Yedlin on Friday. And in an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” the suburban Kansas City native headed off talk that he was actively looking to make a move overseas.
“We'll see what happens,” he said, “but right now I'm extremely happy here in the US, and I love the team I play on, Kansas City.”
The two teammates' rise to prominence is a point of pride for Vermes – and, he said, reflects well on Sporting as a whole.
“It's great for our club,” he said. “It's great for our club, because obviously we put a lot of time and effort into all of our players. And when the guys continue to become better and excel, it shows that as an organization we're doing a good job. From that perspective, I think there's a lot of pride from everybody in the organization.”
And, he said, Besler and Zusi deserve plenty of credit for making themselves into World Cup-caliber players.
“I'm happy for those guys, because I've seen them work over the years,” he said. “And I've seen their commitment to being the best they can be. That's the way it should be. It shouldn't be because you have orange hair, or you've got a goatee and nobody else does. That's not the reason why you should get something, because you've got an image. You should get it because you're good at what you do, and you work hard, and I think that's why those guys got rewarded.”
Besler and Zusi had not trained with Sporting as of Friday, and Vermes said he still hadn't decided whether to use them against the Fire on Sunday.
“I have no idea at this point,” he said. “I'm not playing games. I just don't have any idea.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.