photo courtesy of Graham Greem
Last night, for the seventh time in the last eight games in all competitions, Claudio Bieler, Sporting KC's designated player did not see the field for KC. In fact for the fourth time in that stretch Bieler wasn't even on the bench.
In fact, in the post game interview, Peter Vermes said it was a tactical decision to leave Bieler in KC.
Vermes says leaving Claudio Bieler back in Kansas City was "tactical decision." #NEvSKC
— Andrew Wiebe (@andrew_wiebe) November 3, 2013
Bieler's lack of play down the stretch run for Kansas City has started to draw comparisons to another designated player disappearing act for KC, Omar Bravo. Back in the 2011 season Bravo picked up an injury right before the playoff series against Colorado began. It wasn't bad enough to keep Bravo out of the 18, but he wasn't healthy enough to start. KC walked out of Colorado with a 2-0 win. The team came home and in cold, rainy conditions got the same result. Bravo was on the bench for both games, but didn't play. In the second leg the assumption was because of the weather and keeping him from picking up an injury that could keep him out longer. Then the Conference finals against Houston saw him again on the bench through out the game. With Sporting falling behind in the 53rd minute, it wasn't until the 85th that Bravo entered the game for Seth Sinovic, two minutes before Carlo Costly sealed the game.
After the season ended, questions started to swirl about whether Bravo would return to KC next year. Even Bravo himself said that he had a lot to think about regarding the next season. Rumors swirled of loan moves or selling him to a club in Mexico. Then on December 5th came the rumor from ESPN Deportes that Bravo was done in KC due to "problems with the coach." A week later, Bravo was on his way to Cruz Azul. After the fact plenty of rumors came out about Bravo's unhappiness here in KC.
Similar rumors about issues with the coach have been swirling for the last few weeks regarding Bieler. None anyone is speaking on, but it's not surprising if they are there based on Bieler's lack of playing time.
At some point you have to question whether it's the players or the coach. With Bieler, Vermes said that they'd been scouting the player for a few years, so they should have known the type of player that Bieler was and what would be expected of him when he came to Kansas City. If not, then the blame lies on Vermes and his scouting department for failing to realize the type of player that Bieler is.
Questions are being asked of Vermes and his acquisitions, specifically of DPs after Bravo's departure after a year and Bieler's lack of playing time lately. If Bieler isn't even in the 18 come Wednesday I think we can easily assume that Bieler's time in KC will end with just one season, the third DP under Vermes that won't last more than a season for KC.