Peter Vermes - serious
USA Today Sports

Report: Vermes returning to Sporting Kansas City, but big roster changes likely

There's been plenty of speculation about the future of Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes following SKC's forgettable 2019 campaign that saw them finish 10-16-8 and in 11th place in the Western Conference with 38 points.

According to a report from the Kansas City Star, however, Vermes won't be going anywhere in 2020, with club principal owner Mike Illig telling the Star's Sam McDowell that Vermes will be brought back for next season, citing his successful track record as the main reason the longtime coach has earned the benefit of the doubt to be the one to try and turn things back around. 2019 was the first time in eight years Sporting KC didn't qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, and the club has bagged an MLS Cup and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles during Vermes' tenure.

That doesn't mean big changes won't be coming, though. Illig also told McDowell that plenty of roster turnover should expected, with the results of the 2019 season falling short of the team's usual standard. There were some difficult circumstances to be sure -- SKC was one of the most injured teams in MLS this season, particularly after their Concacaf Champions League semifinal run that started a string of key players hitting the injury report. Illig said at least some degree of changes are almost a foregone conclusion.

"No one is bulletproof, in our minds," Illig said. "The players would be naive to think that there won't be changes coming. It's the nature of sports. If you're measuring performance and you didn't perform, it's logical we'd look at that spot and say, 'We have to do better there.'"

 

The extent of that turnover remains to be seen, but it could mean the departure of at least some of the well-known core that has contributed to much of the club's recent run of success. 

Illig indicated he's looking to add a carry-the-load No. 9, as well as an attacking midfielder and a center back, and added that he doesn't expect the moves to be inexpensive.

"We know how much it's going to cost to get those impact players in here," he said. "But it's still a priority for us. The bottom line is it wasn't good enough this year, and everyone knows it wasn't good enough. Everyone has to do a better job. This is an opportunity for us to take a step back and figure out what it's going to take to fix it."

Check out McDowell's whole lookahead to SKC's offseason here.


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