Sporting KC

Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes says MLS expansion team in St. Louis ‘would be great’

Sporting Kansas City and midfielder Graham Zusi (left) faced Saint Louis FC, a USL club, in last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. And Sporting could see more of St. Louis soccer if MLS winds up with an expansion team there.
Sporting Kansas City and midfielder Graham Zusi (left) faced Saint Louis FC, a USL club, in last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. And Sporting could see more of St. Louis soccer if MLS winds up with an expansion team there. along@kcstar.com

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said the league will explore the possibility of placing an expansion team in St. Louis.

And while a few hurdles remain — most notably finding ownership — an addition on the other side of the state is one Sporting Kansas City would welcome.

“I think it would be great,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “When you look at New York, Seattle, L.A., they all have close rivals. Why not here as well?

“I think rivalries in sports are great. I think there’s no doubt Kansas City and St. Louis would have that.”

There’s already evidence to affirm that notion.

Saint Louis FC, a USL club, played Sporting Kansas City in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last June. Sporting KC won 1-0 in front of a lively crowd at Children’s Mercy Park.

“Those are the types of atmospheres that you want to play in as a player,” Sporting KC captain Matt Besler said after the match. “We were definitely aware of the rivalry going on with a crowd.”

MLS expanded to 20 teams last season, and it plans to add Atlanta and Minnesota in 2017 and a second Los Angeles team in 2018. Garber has said the league would eventually like to grow to 28 teams.

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