Peter Vermes confident Sporting Kansas City are ready for Vancouver Whitecaps challenge

Peter Vermes is the longest-serving coach in MLS.
Peter Vermes is the longest-serving coach in MLS. / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Vermes says he's had absolutely no problem motivating his Sporting Kansas City players ahead of their MLS Cup Playoff clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

SKC finished third in a highly competitive Western Conference, just three points short of leaders Colorado Rapids. They enter the Playoff field as one of the favorites.

But they face a tough task against a Whitecaps side that lost just two of their final 22 games of the regular season. The likes of Ryan Gauld and Bryan White have added serious sting to the Canadian side's attack, while Vancouver are responding well to interim head coach Vanni Sartini.

Vermes is confident his side players are ready for the task at hand.

"It's definitely not another game," he said in his pre-match press conference (via "The 34-game season is over with, this is now the playoffs, this is what they worked to get into. This is a different situation now, it's a different challenge. I don't necessarily think I have to do this amazing job to try to get them motivated for the game because they've been incredibly self-motivated all season long.

"There's been times where maybe I've had to be the external motivation for them, which sometimes I've been successful and other times I haven't been successful. But I don't think this is one of those games where they need a ton of motivation from me, I think the game itself is motivation enough. They have a good spirit, a good mentality, just a very good vibe within the group. They understand what's ahead of them and they're prepared to do it."

The two sides have already beaten each other once this season, with the home team coming out on top on both occasions. SKC forward Johnny Russell - who notched 15 goals and seven assists during the regular season - is certainly not underestimating the Whitecaps.

"In the time I've been here this is probably the strongest they've been," the Scotland international said. "We beat them here at home, they beat us at [their] home, so it's 1-1 going to the last game. So we're hoping for more of the same that we got the first meeting this season, and that's entirely our focus and doing everything we can to win this game."

The winner of Saturday's match will advance to play either the Seattle Sounders or Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semi-finals.