Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes is looking forward to going up against former midfielder Ilie Sanchez in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The Spaniard - a product of the Barcelona youth system - spent five seasons with SKC between 2017 and 2021, playing 171 times and winning a US Open Cup title.
Sanchez left Children's Mercy Park for LAFC this offseason and has played the full 90 minutes in all six of their matches so far this season, scoring once and bringing a touch of class to the Black and Gold's midfield to help them top the Western Conference.
This weekend, Sanchez will face his former teammates, who are struggling in his absence. SKC boss Vermes is excited about the reunion, although he hopes to give his former midfield linchpin a tough afternoon.
“Ilie was a great person and great player for this club for the years that he was here,” Vermes told reporters at a pre-match press conference. “He always had a tremendous mentality and attitude. I can’t say anything but great things about him.
“In all parts of his life, I hope that it always goes well. I really do. He’s a great guy, a good human being. And I’ll be happy to see him. I hope that he doesn’t have a great night on Sunday, but I really wish the best for that guy.”
Speaking on a recent episode of LAFC's 'MVP' podcast, Sanchez admitted Sunday's match will be full of 'emotion', but that he'll be trying to use what he knows about SKC - who are 12th in the West - against them.
“Obviously, it’s a team I know very well — the players, their coach, the coaching staff — and I will try to take advantage of that,” Sanchez said. “Knowing that it’s not going to be easy because emotions are going to be there. But when you know somebody, you know their strengths, but also their weaknesses.”