CHICAGO — Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes made three lineup changes in the second match of the season after a lackluster, 2-0 loss to New York City FC in the opener, and they seemed to have paid off in Sporting KC’s win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
The biggest changes were up front as Khiry Shelton replaced Diego Rubio at center forward and Daniel Salloi started in place of Yohan Croizet on the wing.
“When Khiry went out it changed us a bit when he got hurt in the last preseason game, so we didn’t want to push him too far (in this match),” Vermes said. “We were a bit tentative (when he came out), which is why I think two goals went in.”
Salloi finished with two assists on the night, including on the final goal to give Sporting KC the lead. With the offensive output tonight, Vermes said that he is confident in his attackers but he’s always open to adding new players.
“The most expensive players around the world are attackers and I don’t see anyone around the league spending $100 million dollars to get a goal scorer,” Vermes said. “I believe in the guys we have, but we’re never done. The roster is a living, breathing document.”
While Croizet was on the bench for this match, Rubio stayed home in Kansas City and played in the Swope Park Rangers’ exhibition against UMKC. However, Vermes said that the move doesn’t set Rubio’s future in stone.
“There’s so many games left, including Open Cup, and a lot of things are going to play themselves out,” he said. “All the players are going to have an opportunity. The Rangers are a great tool for us as well, not just for our academy kids coming up but for keeping our guys fit. I felt that for today this was the group of guys that were going to be the best guys for the game.”
Another lineup change was Seth Sinovic for Christian Lobato at left back. Sinovic, who has been the starting left back for most matches since 2011, had to leave the match with a head injury, making way for Jimmy Medranda. This may speak to Vermes’ trust in Lobato as he was in the 18 but was not the immediate replacement for Sinovic. Medranda would prove important as he scored the tying goal in the 83rd minute. Sinovic, who has had troubles with concussions in the past, is said to be okay by a team spokesperson.