Vermes priming Sporting KC for key stretch

Peter Vermes (pictured) will guide Sporting Kansas City into its third Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaign starting next month. (Photo: Mexsport)

 KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- With the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League opener a little more than a month away, Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes is hoping that his team will remain physically sound.

Sporting will rack up many frequent flyers miles later this summer. From July 31 to August 27, the club will play seven games, including five on the road.

The Major League Soccer side will begin SCCL Group C play at Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago) on August 16, followed by another road match against the Vancouver Whitecaps (Canada) on August 23.

“What we need from our team right now – especially as we're moving into the rest of July and August – we need players to be healthy,” Vermes remarked. “In August, we're going to travel 13,000 miles by plane. We have really short windows and long distances to cover to go and play a lot of those games.

“That's going to be a tough thing, and every one of those guys has got to be prepared to go and play 90, to travel, to recover, to compete again. That's going to be the key.”

To prepare his team for the challenge, Vermes has started to bulk up and restructure his roster.

On Tuesday, Sporting made two moves to bolster its depth, which continued a busy acquisition period. Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Appiah was signed to a deal and defender Amadou Dia was sent to the Impact de Montreal for forward Cameron Porter.

Those moves came on the heels acquiring Honduras international defender Ever Alvarado from Olimpia and extending Chilean forward Diego Rubio's loan agreement from Real Valladolid (Spain's Segunda Division) through the rest of the season.

If Vermes has his way, Sporting is far from finished. He has an attacking midfielder and winger on his shopping list.

The MLS summer transfer window opened on July 4 and closes August 3.