Sporting KC ready for MLS restart

Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo–NASCAR and golf have led the way as sports tries to restart amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Basketball and baseball aren’t that far behind.

And as KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen reports, soccer is also standing by ready to jump into action.

And that includes the professional MLS team in Kansas City.

The National Women’s Soccer League’s steps onto the pitch on Utah represented the first team major sports action in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

But the men’s side of the sport is hoping to be close behind.

“We’re excited to head down there. We’re building every day and it’s been fun,” said Khiry Shelton, Sporting Forward.

Major League Soccer is currently set to return on July 8th with the “MLS is Back Tournament” in Orlando, Florida featuring all 26 teams in a group stage/playoff format that will also count toward the regular season standings.

“It’s going to be a key thing to be ready from the first moment that we land in Orlando. I think that we’ve been working in this organization very well since day one that we came back to individual trainings,” said Ilie Sanchez, Sporting midfielder.

Sporting Kansas City drew a spot in Group D alongside three other Western Conference rivals in Real Salt Lake, Colorado and Minnesota.

“You’ve got all three teams Western Conference teams that we face. We’re going to have to face them after the tournament as well. Getting paired with them early, it is what it is. We’re going to have to play somebody,” said Peter Vermes, Sporting Manager.

But for club manager Peter Vermes, the biggest on field concern is having his players fit enough for their first match action since March 7th.

Vermes: “Yeah, I think the biggest thing is we’re still trying to get match fitness as much as we can. I think for all the teams, it’s got to be the same hurdle. That is you can’t play a bunch of scrimmage games except for the inner-squad scrimmages. That gets old after a while.”

And on top of that, Sporting will be lacking its secret weapon with no fans present at the games.

Sanchez: “It’s going to be more difficult especially not having Kansas City fans supporting our team. We really feel that we play with one more player when we’re here.”

But even without the Cauldron, SKC will hope to pick up where it left off starting July 12th against Minnesota United.

Reporting on the return of team sports, Matt Vereen – Ozarks First.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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