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Sporting KC's Peter Vermes: ‘Fantastic’ for USMNT to qualify for World Cup

US drawn into Group B with England, Iran
Costa Rica US Wcup Soccer
Posted at 12:41 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 13:41:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Men’s National Team qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year in Qatar despite a 2-0 loss Wednesday in Costa Rica.

After failing to qualify for the World Cup for 40 years from 1950 to 1990, the U.S. had made the world’s largest and most-watched sporting event seven straight times before its 2018 failure in CONCACAF qualifying.

But the USMNT will be back in the 32-team field when the World Cup kicks off Nov. 21 for the eighth time in nine tournaments since 1990.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said Thursday. “I think (USMNT coach) Gregg (Berhalter) and his staff did a great job. I think the players, you can see the evolution and the growth of them — not just in the way they play, but the way they compete. And they really care about representing the U.S. team, you can see it through the television. It’s a great thing to see.”

It’s personally gratifying for Vermes because he was part of the generation that returned the USMNT to international glory and played in the 1990 World Cup.

That gives Vermes, who is the longest-tenured MLS coach, a vested interest in the continued evolution of soccer’s domestic growth.

“It’s tremendous for our sport in this country,” he said. “It’s tremendous for our league and the growth of the sport. It’s going to be a great experience for such a very talented pool of players that I would say [is] easily the most talented pool of players we’ve ever had in this country.”

During the draw for the 2022 World Cup on Friday, the USMNT was drawn into Group B along with England, Iran and the European Playoff winner, which will be decided in June.

The U.S. opens World Cup group play on Monday, Nov. 21, against the European Playoff winner.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine postponed a World Cup qualifying match between Ukraine and Scotland. The game has yet to be rescheduled.

The winner of that game eventually will face Wales for the final European spot in the World Cup field.

The highly anticipated matchup with England looms on Friday, Nov. 25, while USMNT wraps up Group B play against Iran on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“They’ve got to be extremely proud,” Vermes said. “What a great opportunity they have. It’s tremendous.”

Roster update

Defensive midfielder Uri Rosell hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury Feb. 27 in the season opener at Atlanta United FC.

He returned to training this week, but Vermes said Rosell is “still a work in progress” and questionable to even travel.

Vermes added that Rosell's “still very, very questionable” to return this weekend, so Sporting KC fans should expect to see Remi Walter in the defensive midfielder role again for a 7 p.m. kickoff at the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The game will air locally on 38 The Spot.

Vermes also addressed Jose Mauri’s situation.

He subbed on for Rosell at Atlanta but was subbed off 27 minutes later, and Vermes announced March 1 the club would be parting ways with the Argentinian-born midfielder.

“When there’s a solution, I’ll come back and tell you,” Vermes said. “We’re still searching for it.”

Sporting KC (2-3-0) has lost all three road matches this season and won both home matches, while Vancouver is (0-3-1) with two goals in four games.