Sporting KC hope history repeats itself in first round

Peter Vermes

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Peter Vermes seems to have first-round picks just about figured out.

Since he became the technical director and eventually manager in Kansas City, Vermes has selected six players in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. All six – Michael Harrington (2007), Chance Myers (2008), Roger Espinoza (2008), Matt Besler (2009), Teal Bunbury (2010) and C.J. Sapong (2011) – have developed into professionals more than worthy of their draft status.

This time around, however, he is uncertain what kind of player will be available in Thursday's SuperDraft when he finally gets around to picking 16th, the lowest first-round pick Kansas City have had since he became technical director.

"Can someone at our pick still have a strong impact? I hope so,” Vermes said in a phone interview with MLSsoccer.com. “I hope that is the case. It could be at that point that players we were targeting are gone, but there is a really good player left. A lot of the preceding draft will determine what goes on after it.”

And although the Sporting KC manager wouldn’t reveal exactly what he is looking for, he does have a list of needs to fill.

Even though all of the starters from last season’s playoff run have returned, there are some questions about depth, especially at center back. Last season, Besler and Aurélien Collin cemented themselves as the starting pair in the center of defense and Júlio César filled in when needed, but there was much depth behind that trio.

Loan signee Daneil Cyrus was injured shortly after he was signed and Lawrence Olum was brought in to add some depth in case of emergency, but both will have to earn a roster spot during preseason.  

But even with areas clearly in need of reinforcement, Vermes wasn’t tipping his hand. After all, there is still plenty of time to explore the international market as well.

"We have certain positions that we are looking at different players in,” he said, “whether it be a guy that can have some impact or a guy that can give us some depth. A lot if it depends on what is available when we get to our pick." 

Vermes has taken a wide variety of players with his first-round picks while in Kansas City, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly which direction he’ll go this year. His first four first-rounders were more defensive minded and his last two were forwards. He did mention, though, that there more attacking talent than usual at the combine this year.

Despite that tidbit, he wasn't budging when asked what kind of player was at the top of his list. In fact, the only hint Vermes would offer was that Sporting felt set in at least one position.

"You could probably say we are good at goalkeeper," he said.