Peter Vermes will take charge of his 500th game of Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, as his side go up against New York Red Bulls.
It has been a difficult campaign so far for SKC, who sit 13th in the Western Conference with just four wins to their name.
They lost 3-0 to the Seattle Sounders last time out and now face a Red Bulls side who come into the back of the match on the back of a hard-fought win over Atlanta United.
Yet despite a poor 2022 to date, Vermes is still going strong as the MLS’ longest-serving coach.
“I work with and work for an incredible ownership group. Incredible vision, great understanding of the evolution and build of something,” Vermes said.
“And then I’m really fortunate to work with an incredible staff and great players over the years.” I’ve had to evolve myself. Its experience when you are in that many games.
“You can get caught up in each roll of the ball or each play. You know it’s a long season. You have to understand the grind.”
Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber, meanwhile, is not underestimating SKC.
“We know the situation at Sporting KC. They have at the moment not the output that they want,” he said.
“When you look deeper in the games, you can see in many moments they are close to winning. In this direction we have to be very clear, very focused in our situation, system and principles and not look so much at the table.
“We know how high the quality from Sporting is, when we look how they create build up, have possession, they have very good players with special skills. Nobody from my group will say this will be easy. We have to be at our limit. It’s in our hands, of course.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sporting Kansas City – Daniel Salloi
One of SKC’s major problems this season has been scoring goals. Daniel Salloi has managed four, and is the team’s second-highest scorer, behind Johnny Russell.
New York Red Bulls – Serge Ngoma
Serge Ngoma scored the winning goal for the Red Bulls against Atlanta United on Thursday. Ngoma became the third 16-year-old to score a goal for the Red Bulls in MLS (Eddie Gaven, Jozy Altidore), the first MLS team to have three different players score for them before their 17th birthday.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Red Bulls have lost only one of their last seven away matches against Sporting Kansas City (W2 D4), including a 2-2 draw in their last visit, in April 2019. New York’s last win in Kansas City, however, was a 2-0 win in October 2014.
– SKC have lost 10 of their first 18 matches this season, including its last two at home. Sporting have lost three straight home matches only once in the last 15 years, doing so in August-September 2014.
– The Red Bulls scored in the 83rd and 89th minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat Atlanta United, 2-1, on Thursday. It was the first time in nearly nine years that New York won a match it was trailing in the 80th minute or later, last doing so against Real Salt Lake in July 2013.
– Twelve of Sporting Kansas City’s last 15 regular season home goals have been scored by either Russell (eight) or Salloi (four), including the last five.
– The only other Sporting Kansas City players to score a goal in the team’s last 12 home games are Remi Walter (two) and Gadi Kinda (one).