Sporting Kansas City will be coming off a 10-day break when they open the MLS Cup playoffs. After that, the postseason schedule could get hairy for the Eastern Conference's first-place finishers.
Should they get through their two-leg conference semifinal, set for Nov. 4 and Nov. 7 against either Chicago or Houston, Sporting could be back in action three days later in the Eastern Conference Championship against the winner of the New York-D.C. United semifinal.
Manager Peter Vermes' reaction to the possibility of playing three crucial matches in seven days? Five words that should be familiar to anyone who knows Sporting and their no-nonsense gaffer.
“It is what it is,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by telephone on Sunday. “The only thing we can do now – and I think you know me by now, talking about different stuff like this – is that we're going to stay focused on what we can control.”
Travel plans being one of those things, a club spokesman said Sunday that Sporting planned to take a charter flight to the first leg of the conference final should they reach that stage.
Vermes acknowledged the challenge of the quick turnaround: “Obviously, it's going to be physically a little bit of a difficult run for us. It's never easy to play that many games in that many days.”
Still, it's not as though Sporting haven't done this sort of thing before. This is a club, after all, that played seven competitive matches in July.
“Our staff has done a very good job with the players over the season, with regards to travel and multiple games, when we were juggling the US Open Cup with playing in the league,” Vermes said. “Our guys have been tough to be able to fight through that and deal with it.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.