Peter Vermes is enjoying his first full season as a Major League Soccer coach with the Kansas City Wizards, but the 1984 Delran High graduate says the most important aspect of the job is practicing patience.
The Wizards are 2-5-3 as they host the Union (2-6-1) on Thursday at 8 p.m., before both teams take a break for the World Cup.
"Our league is very grueling and it's basically 10 months and there are a lot of games to be played and a lot can happen," Vermes said in a phone interview. "We know you aren't going to win a championship in 10 games and in my first full year the objective is to get better."
Vermes was named interim coach in August and the Wizards went 3-7-2 in his 12 games. In November, he was named the permanent coach.
He says that last weekend's scoreless tie in Toronto was a step in the right direction. (By comparison, the Union lost, 2-1, in Toronto in their second game of the year.)
"Nobody had secured points in Toronto so that was positive for us," said Vermes, noting Toronto's 4-0-1 home record.
Vermes also was impressed while scouting the Union.
"What has impressed me is that they have played with a lot of passion and shown a willingness to compete," Vermes said. "They come to play and are getting better."
Included in that category is rookie forward Danny Mwanga, the first overall pick of the MLS draft, who has scored in stoppage time in each of the last three games.
"He has a nose for the goal and when it comes to young guys, it is a process of bringing them along slowly. And it's important, the experience they get every game," Vermes said. "He has come in and continues to have an impact."
Union warned. An MLS official said the Union were warned - but not fined - for wearing Flyers T-shirts before Saturday's 2-1 loss at the Chicago Fire. MLS rules require players to wear the team's official uniform.