Peter Vermes has seen evidence of DC United’s progress under Wayne Rooney but believes his opposite number still needs “time” ahead of facing Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting KC coach Vermes was asked about Rooney’s work so far prior to their midweek clash in MLS.

DC were already cut adrift at the bottom of the Eastern Conference when the former England captain was appointed, but there has been cause for optimism of late.

United are unbeaten in three matches, including a win at New York City FC, and Vermes expects more will come with time.

“It’s always been my opinion that when a new coach comes in, whether it’s in the middle of the season or the start of the season, it’s always hard to implement your ideas right away,” Vermes said.

“You try, don’t get me wrong, you do everything you can, but you need games and you need positive things to happen to spur along your ideas. It takes time.

“A lot of people don’t like the word ‘time’ in sports, but it takes time.

“There’s no doubt they have a good roster, they have a good energy within their group, and I’m sure from their perspective they’re trying to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are and trying to get better with every week. You can see that from what they’re doing regularly.”

Sporting KC have also endured a disappointing season, with their playoff hopes all but over in the West.

“In the last game, we missed the pop in that second half,” Vermes added. “We tried, but we just didn’t have it against Houston.

“We need that energy to come from somewhere. I think the guys have been working hard and they’ve been committed, but I think at times we can do more and we have to do more. That has to come from within the group.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

Russell has eight goals this season but has yet to supply an assist for the first time in an MLS campaign. SKC could use a return to form in terms of his creativity in the final third.

DC United – David Ochoa

DC have kept back-to-back clean sheets, but they were indebted to goalkeeper Ochoa against former club Real Sale Lake last time out. His outstanding eight saves secured a point.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Sporting Kansas City have won only one of their last eight matches against DC United (D3 L4), scoring two total goals in those games. The two goals are the fewest Sporting have ever scored in an eight-match span against a single opponent, though DC have found the net just three times in the last six meetings.

– Sporting Kansas City are unbeaten in four straight games (W2 D2), the team’s longest run of the season, after a scoreless draw at Houston on Saturday. Both wins in that stretch came at home as Sporting have won their last three at home after winning one of their previous nine games at Children’s Mercy Park (D2 L6).

– DC United have played two straight scoreless draws following a 0-0 at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. This is the 44th time a team have played two straight scoreless regular season games, but only once, Colorado in their first three games of the 2015 season, has a team played three straight goalless matches.

– Sporting Kansas City have been the worst second-half team in MLS this season, scoring a league-low 16 goals after half-time while conceding 34, second-most behind only San Jose (36). In the last 15 minutes of games, Sporting have conceded a league-high 15 times while scoring just five, tied for fewest in MLS.

– DC United’s scoreless draw at Salt Lake on Saturday was the league-leading 14th time they have failed to score in a match this season. A team have gone scoreless 15 times in a season just seven times in MLS history, with DC accounting for three of those (17 in 2010 and 2017, 16 in 2013).