First Kick is, literally, just days away.
Which means that, finally, we can move beyond the theoretical (How will the new players acclimate? Has the team improved? What does the pre-season even mean?) and into the very real (You know, actual games that mean something) on Saturday night when KC faces DC United.
For many fans this is likely the longest week of the season. But, just give it some context: Saturday is only Day 1 of a 267-day journey to the MLS Cup. By comparison, baseball's season seems almost quaint.
Here are a few items to get you going. We'll be back later on this week with more appropriate preview-type stuff.
• This weekend, Sporting officially named goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen the team captain. Both of last year's captains (Davy Arnaud and Omar Bravo) departed this off-season.
"It's a great team and we should have the ambition to go for the MLS Cup," Nielsen told MLSSoccer.com. "I believe that if we keep doing things like we are now, we'll be one of the teams that is fighting for the MLS Cup and that should be the goal for us. We went to the conference final last year and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be reaching for the final this year. The main goal for me is to win a championship this year."
• Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar and Paulo Nagamura all sat out an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and, obviously, this leads to to speculation about a selection dilemma this weekend.
Zusi has been rested at times throughout KC's preseason after his stint with the U.S. national team in January. Cesar missed time dealing with a personal issue. Nagamura is returning from a leg injury suffered last season. Vermes called the current injuries "nagging." All will be given a few days to get fit.
The team's depth looks to be up for a test right out of the gate. Luke Sassano, Michael Thomas, Konrad Warzycha and maybe even Bobby Convey will be in the mix if those three can't go on Saturday.
• The Sporting KC Juniors opened its season on Friday night with U-16 and U-18 matches against FC Dallas.
The U-18s fell 3-0 with the U-16s managing a 2-2 draw. The U-16s got goals from Rockhurst teammates Luke Stanley and Cole Stevenson.