Rivalry Week

"Vengeful" Peter Vermes: Sporting KC quieting doubters after second straight win


Sporting Kansas City stunned Major League Soccer by defeating Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field in Matchday 11 for their first league win of the 2023 season.

They followed that result by thumping Minnesota United FC, 3-0, Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park as part of MLS Rivalry Week.

SKC manager and sporting director Peter Vermes doesn’t want to say he told you so, but … actually, a part of him loves silencing the critics.

“Make no mistake about it, there's a side of me that is vengeful, for sure,” Vermes said after the match. “I want to show everybody that we are that good. And I know inside the locker room, inside the group that we want to show everybody that we are that good.”

Vermes has been resolute in his belief that once his team got healthy they'd be able to show what he’s repeatedly said – SKC are a quality side, even if they opened with a 0W-7L-3D record to start the year.

And the proof has come in back-to-back league wins where Sporting had all three Designated Players on the field at the same time. In fact, Vermes had the luxury Saturday of bringing Gadi Kinda off the bench, and the Israeli international iced the win with his first goal of the season. That came after Dany Rosero and Daniel Salloi struck inside the opening 22 minutes to put the hosts in front 3-0.

“The fact that they are now getting a chance to get on the field and spend some time with each other, and now you see even Gadi coming on the last 30 minutes,” Vermes said. "He provides a whole other level in the way that he plays. So it's just being able to get those guys out there, but imagine I'm able to bring Gadi on as a substitute. That changes things for sure. The version of it was out there. You saw it, it was right there.”

Vermes said the win at Seattle shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise around the league because they’ve won at Lumen Field before. But it was a sigh of relief for a team that were winless in their first 10 matches while the pressure mounted on Vermes, the club’s longtime leader.

Vermes credited SKC ownership, which he said is “cut from the same cloth" as him, in terms of their patience through the club's early-season struggles.

Now, it would appear that patience is paying off with consecutive wins, although a trip to red-hot LAFC is on the horizon this Wednesday in Matchday 13 (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

“Last weekend was, again, a really good performance. The guys proved to themselves that they can do it and they themselves too, we all doubt, but at the same time we have to come back to work every day and try to get back on the horse and let's go again,” Vermes said.

"This has helped them for sure mentally and I'm the one who's been telling them all along: I don't think that they have the potential to be a good team. I think they have the potential to be a great team. I think there's a really, really, really good group that can be great in there. Again, this isn't everything today. It's just another step in the right direction.”