Winston Reid - solo shot - West Ham

As Sporting Kansas City continue preparations for the MLS is Back Tournament, the club welcomed back Winston Reid at training Thursday.

The 31-year-old center back, who has resumed his loan from Premier League side West Ham United, rejoined his teammates for the first time. The New Zealand international had two negative COVID-19 tests, per league protocol, before stepping on the field.

As for when, or if, Reid will see match action in Orlando, Sporting KC coach and sporting director Peter Vermes said that’s still too early to tell.

“He was working out when he was over in England, but he’s got to get back into the full-team training,” Vermes said in a conference call Thursday afternoon. “That’s going to take a little bit of time, but he does have a good base of fitness. I won’t put him out there in a risky situation. I want to make sure whatever I put him up against that he’s prepared for it, whether its 10 minutes, a half, whatever the time period is, I’ve just to make sure he's prepared and he’s confident to do that as well. It makes no sense to hurry up any player just to get them on the field.”

Sporting leave for Orlando July 5. First up for SKC in Group D are Minnesota United, a Western Conference side, like Sporting, that got off to a hot start before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the 2020 MLS season.

“Very good team in that they’re strong up the spine, a lot of experience not just as soccer players, but in our league as well. Winners on that team,” Vermes said of the Loons. “It’s a team that's similar [to us] — small market, we’ve always got to punch above our weight class type team. Those always wind up being really tough battles.”

Without the benefit of another preseason, Vermes said he and his staff will be assessing players after each match. But he also expects some of his younger players, including Homegrowns Gianluca Busio, Cameron Duke and Jaylin Lindsey, to have an impact in the tournament.

“I have the utmost confidence in those guys playing,” Vermes said. “They’ve all really taken those steps, they’ve worked hard in this quarantine period as well to come back in a good place. I also think it probably helped them a little bit with not having to go through the every day, and get a little bit of a break prior, because we spent preseason and the first two games now they got a break mentally. They’re coming back much stronger than when we left.”