The Full 90

Vermes not worried about starting camp shorthanded

Updated: 2013-01-10T05:08:24Z

Tod Palmer

The Kansas City Star

When the MLS SuperDraft wraps up next week in Indianapolis, Sporting Kansas City will move almost immediately into training camp.

Of course, manager Peter Vermes will be a bit shorthanded those first few weeks.

Midfielder Graham Zusi and centerback Matt Besler are among Sporting KC's leaders, helping set the tone in training.

Neither will be in camp at the start after being called to train with the U.S. men's national team in preparation for a friendly Jan. 29 against Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

It's possible both could be held over for the full-team camp as well if Jurgen Klinsmann is sufficiently impressed.

The U.S. opens the final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil on Feb. 6 against Honduras in San Pedro Sula.

Zusi played in six matches, including three World Cup qualifiers during the semifinal round, last season. He would seem to be a likely candidate for inclusion against Honduras.

Meanwhile, Besler and Los Angeles Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez are among the favorites to partner with Geoff Cameron in central defense as the U.S. prepares to move into the post-Carlos Bocanegra era.

"You can't forget that we've got a lot of other guys who've been here and know the expectations," Vermes said. "Jimmy's (goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen) the captain. There's also Kei (Kamara) and Chance Myers, (Aurelien) Collin, (Paulo) Nagamura. You can just keep going down the list. Those guys are all champing at the bit and those guys will set the tone."

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who was acquired in a trade with New England in early January, also is in camp with the U.S., delaying his baptism with Sporting KC.

Still, Vermes indicated that he's not worried about integrating Feilhaber into the team.

Asked if it worried him that he'd miss the first few weeks of camp, Vermes said, "I'd be lying if I said no. I'd love to have him from the beginning. I'd love to have all the guys from the beginning, but I'm not worried about Benny getting to know the guys. He's got a great personality and he's going to get along with all the guys. Whenever he gets here, that part of it will be fine."

Vermes also cited the similarities between Klinsmann's 4-3-3 approach and his own as another reason not to fret.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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