Entering the tournament with the requisite buzz that comes from two commanding wins to start the regular season in March, Sporting Kansas City's three group stage games at the MLS is Back Tournament didn't do too much to dampen those good vibes with two wins.
Sporting won two of their three Group D games, a group that was among the most difficult and balanced at the tournament. Pending Minnesota United's result against the Colorado Rapids, SKC will finish either first or second. Either way, six points and a few good performances is a good showing.
But the club sees room for improvement and it's distancing itself from talk that SKC might be among the favorites, after their 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake in their group finale.
"We were never one of the favorites, I don't think teams believe we're one of the favorites and I don't believe we're one of the favorites," head coach Peter Vermes told reporters on a video conference call after the match. "I believe the best team of the tournament has been San Jose, they've been awesome. They're favorites to win the tournament from my perspective, I don't think we are and I don't think we deserve to be."
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"I don't think we're a favorite, our goal is just to continue to move forward," goalkeeper Tim Melia said. "Our goal is to get a little bit better after each game and we did that this game. Now, we just build off each performance and keep going."
The strong group stage also keeps Sporting near the top of the Supporters' Shield race in the early goings of the 2020 season, trailing leaders Columbus Crew SC by a point after five matches.