When a coach doesn't start one of the regulars, both fans and media start to wonder what is going on. Matt Besler has been one of the best center backs in MLS for several years and was a starter for the U.S. at the World Cup. While he did not start all of the Copa America games it was a surprise when Besler did not start the last two league matches.
Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes does not hesitate to answer the question, why is Besler on the bench?
"It's just that I love the rhythm of the guys that are playing out there right now, we're getting incredible results. We've had a lot of mistakes in the back that have cost us points and the other guys have been getting the results. It's just the way it is, it's my choice, my decision, I'm not shying away from that." - Vermes
In Sporting KC's last seven matches, they only have one loss and that is the Open Cup defeat in Houston. That is the only match in those seven that did not have the pair of Opara and Olum starting. In Houston, Besler and Olum started.
"I don't think Matt's a bad player or anything like that. Right now we've got good form, good rhythm with the other guys. Don't forget we have a lot of games coming up so there will be a lot of different guys playing. They're going to get their opportunities like I always say they do, the thing is what do you do with it. We will see how it goes." - Vermes
With Besler up with the U.S. and Coelho and Ellis both hurt, Opara and Olum were forced to be the pair, and it seems to be working.
"In this business right, in this business it is like any other any other job. Nothing is ever a guarantee, nothing is ever a given. Everything is always up for grabs and it's a results-oriented business for all of us. We're included in all that, we know that. So at the end, nothing is a guarantee. I could be wearing the captain's armband one day and the next day I'm not. I could be playing and then I'm not. It has to do with what you are doing every day. One of the things at this club is I'm a big believer in consistency in a lot of different ways but I also don't sacrifice consistency for the fact that we have a job to do. If someone is performing and the other isn't, I have to be honest to that philosophy because the guys know if I'm not." - Vermes
Vermes does like consistency, he tends to go with the same lineup that gets results when he can, but injuries, call ups and general fatigue forces his hand to change it up.
"When it comes to the way we play and the results that we get and all those other parts of it, look there has been a lot of guys on this team that been afforded and I'm not just talking about Matt, anybody. They've been afforded a lot of opportunity and they made mistakes but they kept playing. There are guys who are playing well and they make one mistake, that doesn't mean they are out and the next guy is in. They have to be afforded the same type of opportunity. That's part of this game and you have to remember that. Just because you got there, doesn't mean that you're gonna stay there. You have to keep making it happen." - Vermes
It's not about making mistakes...
"We can't confuse this piece either, I am not a guy that if you make a mistake you're out. I don't do that with guys. If you ask the guys on my staff, they think I am too lenient at times. But I believe you have to build confidence in players, they have to know that as much as I want them to trust me, I have to trust them as well. Making mistake is part of this business but at the same time we have to get results. We have to find the best group to do that and right now we have a really good rhythm and the guys that are playing right now are doing a good job." - Vermes
There will be other opportunities...
"As long as you are on this roster, doors are never closed to you. The door is always open, you have a chance to prove yourself every day. Opportunities always find themselves, look in the game versus Columbus last week, I didn't think LO (Olum) was going to get tight and have to come out. He (Besler) got a chance to go play, he scored a goal, he scored a big goal. When you get your chance, you to be ready and make the most of it." - Vermes
Roger Espinoza has been wearing the Captain's armband, even in the game in Houston when Besler also started. Do we make too much of the captaincy?
"Yes. Way too much. The captaincy is just a band, you don't need an armband to be a leader." - Vermes
With all the games that Sporting KC is facing in July and August it will be nearly impossible for Vermes to go with one lineup, he will use most of the players at some point. Besler could be starting Wednesday night in Chicago or over the weekend in Colorado or sometime in the future but if he wants to be the starter, he better make sure it is a good result.