MLS All-Star Notes: Vermes talks strategy, Collin set to play 90 minutes, and more

Peter Vermes

By FRANCO PANIZO

KANSAS CITY – The MLS All-Star team’s practice session inside of Sporting Park on Tuesday morning may have been noticeably lighter than that of AS Roma, but that does not mean they are taking their match against the Italian heavyweights any less seriously.

The MLS All-Star squad practiced for little less than an hour a day before they hosting Roma in a game that is expected to be played in front of a sold-out crowd. But that was all part of the design drawn up by All-Star head coach Peter Vermes, who wants to keep the MLS players fresh ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Roma.

“The gameplan is for us to go and try to be smart, don’t give the ball away in easy areas of the field so that we’re not running all over the place,” said Vermes. “Then the other [thing] is just stay compact and not give too many things away. You can’t go into this game and have this unbelievable gameplan because this is our first training together as a team.

“Just keep it really simple is the biggest thing. These guys know how to play, they’ve played for a long time. The biggest difficulties is they won’t know each other’s tendencies all throughout the game but somehow really good players find a way to work together.”

Here are more notes from Tuesday’s MLS All-Star practice:

COLLIN TO GO THE DISTANCE

A big talking point at seemingly every MLS All-Star game is which players will be forced to play 90 minutes during a midweek match that is usually followed by a full slate of MLS fixtures. Vermes joked about making Thierry Henry go the distance vs. Roma ahead of Sporting Kansas City’s home game against New York Red Bulls on Saturday, but Vermes’ tone turned more serious when talking about one of his own players who will.

That player is centerback Aurelien Collin.

“Collin is going to play 90, in my eyes,” said Vermes. “He will be one guy and there’s one other player I need to pick, so I’m going to do my best to pick whoever that guy is because I know I’m going to hear it from that team.

“Outside of that, everybody won’t play a full game.”

DONOVAN PRAISES GROWING TALENT IN MLS

Landon Donovan almost missed out on this MLS All-Star game not only because he missed a good chunk of the first half of the season, but also because the number of players who are enjoying stand-out campaigns has increased.

While Donovan could have downplayed that latter notion and said that his self-imposed sabbatical and subsequent return was the big reason for him almost missing out on what is going to be his record 13th straight MLS All-Star appearance, he didn’t. Instead, he praised the growing amount of talent within MLS.

“It’s a lot more difficult to make this team than it has been in the past years,” said Donovan. “There’s more teams, obviously, but there’s just better players throughout the league and there’s guys that are not here that are very deserving and it’s getting more and more competitive. I think that’s a very good thing for our league.”

ROMA TO USE MATCH AS WAY TO GAUGE WHERE THEY ARE

Roma may be using their trip to the United States and match vs. the MLS All-Star team as a way to grow their brand but they are also using them for something more: preparing for the upcoming Serie A campaign.

Roma are set to start their new season in little under a month and are in need of a challenge to see what needs work ahead of their opener against Livorno on Aug. 24, and Wednesday’s match against an MLS squad littered with talent should provide them with just what they’re looking for.

“We’re growing, we’re growing,” said defender Nicolas Burdisso. “We could say we’re at five or six points (out of 10 in terms of where we stand). We started at zero three weeks ago and now we’re halfway to our top form in our preseason and tomorrow will be a good way to measure where we stand.”

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7 Responses to MLS All-Star Notes: Vermes talks strategy, Collin set to play 90 minutes, and more

  1. Thomas says:

    I’ll say All-Stars win this one 4-2 with Bradley getting a goal and assist for Roma.

  2. Eric says:

    I’ll be honest, the SKC homer in me kinda wants to see Thierry Henry play the full 90 because of what Hans Backe did at the 2011 All-Star Game–playing SKC’s Omar Bravo almost the full 90 with NYRB set to face SKC that weekend. It was a brazenly obvious attempt to handicap an opponent, and it reeked of a lack of sportsmanship.

    I honestly don’t know why MLS doesn’t allow for a 22-man roster for the ASG when they name 30-some players as All-Stars anyways per the current collective bargaining agreement. No real reason not to. But props to Vermes for being willing to take the hit and have one of his guys go 90. That’s a stand-up gesture.

    • ed - houston says:

      why would your coach want to play Collin, in a meaningless game, for a full 90 ? that is very risky. no injuries no probs, but what if he gets injured?

      • Eric says:

        FWIW, Collin *did* get injured at last year’s ASG–he suffered facial fractures and had to be subbed off before the first half was even over.

        So we have survived it once. I don’t think it is a matter of PV wanting to play Collin–I am sure the coach in him would much rather have Collin (and Besler and Zusi) sit this one out, even if he would never say so publicly. It’s that PV seems to not want to game the system and hurt another squad’s chances of competing, and so is taking one for the proverbial team.

  3. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Anyone here think Vermes deserves a chance to be the next USMNT coach?

    • Eric says:

      No, and I’m an SKC fan. Vermes has yet to have a team he coaches win the clutch games, the Open Cup final last year aside. SKC always seems to do well in the regular season, and then totally crash and burn in the playoffs. National team games, because they are fewer and far between, have much more at stake.

      I’d like to see how the USMNT does under Klinsi in Brazil before talking about who should be “next” (for all I know, JK might deserve another cycle with the team), but personally, depending on how his initial coaching career shakes out, I think it would be interesting to see how Brad Friedel does in the position.

  4. brek shea got injured :( says:

    stupid unknown philly union reserve clubbed Shea :(