Vermes the Unsung Hero of 2013
By Jason Harrel
Sports are always a funny thing when you look back and reflect on a certain season. There’s always going to be many story lines attached with each said year. These topics can include anything from top players making a comeback from a season-ending surgery the year before to who is retiring. However, one story line you don’t always put at the forefront is who put these players in the position they made the headlines in.
Let’s take a moment and look back at Peter Vermes, who in my mind was the unsung hero of Sporting Kansas City’s magical year.
Of course the season ended with the announcement of Jason Kreis departure from MLS Cup runner ups, Real Salt Lake as well as the thought of having Kreis or Dominic Kinnear as potential U.S. Men’s National Team bosses. But lets go back even further, to the beginning of the season for that mater.
At the beginning of the 2013 MLS season, Vermes, a guy who’d lost in two straight playoffs to Kinnear’s Houston Dynamo, was the guy who’d tried to shoehorn Bobby Convey into 2012’s starting lineup. He was also the one who strung together one of the most high energy but also highly physical play style that KC was known for this season.
Even with those high-octane style offenses, Vermes had to make his 2013 team just right. He had to replace Roger Espinoza, the energetic central midfielder that did much of the dirty work in the midfield as a hockey enforcer would do along the blue lines of the hockey rink. Oriol Rosell and Kei Kamara’s presence was another force that was instilled in KC fans minds.
Even with Graham Zusi and Matt Besler missing major time with U.S. Men’s National Team duty, Vermes still had his side competing for the Supporters’ Shield through the final weekend, and while Sporting wasn’t able to claim that trophy they were able to seize the one everybody wants most. As the finals came down to a passionate, yet stressful shootout against Real Salt Lake on Dec. 7, Vermes brought a second championship to KC, becoming the first person to win the title with the same origination as both a player and coach.
As the season moved along for Vermes, he continued to challenge some of the critiques that had taken hold since he replaced Curt Onalfo four years ago. He knew that a side once defined by its physicality developed other ways to win and in the playoffs, Vermes finally got the best of Dom Knnear.
Now as the 2013 season is a mere three weeks old, it’s time to asses the legacy of a playoff run, but the former U.S. international, a title has challenged us to see the positieves rather than focus on why Sporting KC had come up short. Once we have our perceptions changed, it became clear Vermes was strength and passion that every head coach of a football club hopes to build within the minds of not only his players but the supporter groups that come in numbers to their loved club.