Sporting Kansas City's five games in fifteen days to start the season did not leave a lot of time for actual practice, or planning or healing. Throw in trips to and from Seattle and Mexico City and Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes was even more challenged.
If it was later in the season, Vermes would have been able to play his best eleven (healthy players) in each match, but not this early in the campaign. While the players are in great shape, it is still early in the season so Vermes knew there was not time for them all to recover. Some juggled lineups and SKC ended up using 20 players in those first five games with only Eric Kronberg and amazingly Benny Feilhaber starting all five.
With having a week between last Saturday's victory over San Jose and the upcoming match in Colorado, it was the first time Sporting KC could take a breath. That time was a luxury for Sporting KC and Vermes wanted to capitalize on it.
"Getting back into a rhythm of training is very important," Vermes explained. "We really couldn't train with Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday. It was really just recovery and play, recovery and play. So getting a rhythm like this is huge for us. It's really good to be back out here and training this way."
During stretches like that, managers still have to plan, they still have to evaluate players conditions and still have to decide who and how the team is going to play their next opponent. They just have much less time to accomplish it.
"It's all crammed together," Vermes noted. "You can plan but it's just all crammed together. What you cannot do is a lot of tactics stuff on the field; it's more just talking about and showing very little stuff regarding the opponent. You don't get a chance to work on certain things, you talk more about them. Unfortunately that is not the way everyone learns. Some guys you show films, some you show chalkboard and some guys you have to do it on the field. You have to be able to do all of the so you make sure you hit everybody."
Sporting KC Captain Matt Besler was happy to have the full week between games as well. "It feels like we haven't done it for a while so we are looking to take advantage of it. I enjoy full weeks where we can get out on the training field and have the whole team out here and work through some things."
Having the time to walkthrough plans for the opponent is obviously good but it also gives Sporting KC a chance to integrate recently signed players like Toni. The recently signed Spaniard made the 18 against San Jose but did not make it into the match.
"It helps them, we can do more stuff on how we play and get those guys to understand tactically and physically, all that is helped when we can have training," Vermes said.