Monday, February 21, 2011

Return To Arizona

We're officially less than a month until Sporting Kansas City kick off their season, and less than 24 hours before the first MLS teams kicks a ball in a real game when Real Salt Lake and Columbus play the first leg of their CONCACAF Champion's League Quarterfinal match-up. And today after 5 days away, KC returned to Arizona for the rest of their preseason training. The team will play a few more preseason games, including ones against Portland, Montreal, and New York.

In those games and in the remaining weeks of training, KC still has some decisions to make. The team currently has 21 players under contract and 14 known trialists still in camp to fill out their 30 man roster. Of those 9 remaining spots, KC currently has 4 remaining international spots available in those 9, as Andy points out. Of the known trialists (including the remaining 4 draft picks), eight would count as internationals. Here's a quick break down by position of the players on the roster and in camp. Remember this is only up to this point, there are likely to be more trialists joining the team in Arizona for the final phase of preseason. Those that count as internationals are marked with a (*).

On Roster: Jon Kempin, Eric Kronberg, Jimmy Nielsen*.

The team hasn't brought in any trialists in goal this preseason as the team seems set there. Kronberg and Kempin only signed last season, while Nielsen had his option picked up this offseason. Nielsen is the starter and is likely well ahead of Kronberg and Kempin at this point.

On Roster: Korede Aiyegbusi*, Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis, Roger Espinoza, Michael Harrington, Luke Sassano, Shavar Thomas
Trialists: Calum Butcher*, Omar Colley*, Julio Cesar Santos Correa*, Daneil Cyrus*, Mike Jones, Gor Kirakosyan, Scott Lorenz, Mitja Morec*.

Lots of internationals in defense, mainly in the middle of the defense. Butcher, Colley, Correa, Cyrus, and Morec are all hoping to make the roster mainly in the center of defense so I'd think two could make the roster. With the waiving of JT Murray, Lorenz looks like he could earn himself a contract to back up Roger Espinoza. Jones could make the roster as an end of the bench player getting a roster spot, but it depends on how other American players do. Kirakosyan I don't believe would count as an international, I'm pretty sure he'd fall into the same category as Yura Movsisyan.

On Roster: Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Jack Jewsbury, Craig Rocastle*, Graham Zusi.
Trialists: Michal Mravec*, Milos Stojcev*, Konrad Warzycha.

Not as many trialists here, but we continue to hear the rumors of the attacking central midfielder that we are still looking for, but still unable to sign. Stojcev is said to be a bit of an attacking minded player. Mravec and Warzycha though are both more defensive minded and will be battling with Auvray, Jewsbury, and Rocastle, along with Birahim Diop to get time there. The number of foreign signings in defense will have a big effect on which, if any, of the international midfielders sign.

On Roster: Omar Bravo*, Teal Bunbury, Birahim Diop, Kei Kamara, Chance Myers, Ryan Smith*.
Trialists: CJ Sapong, Travis Bowen, Adda Djeziri*.

Sapong is very likely to be signed, I expect him to be on the team. Smith's international status could change very soon which could open up another international spot for another player, like Djeziri, who has impressed at times this preseason with his skills, but will be remembered just as much for throwing up in the middle of training the day of the beep test.

The other thing to remember and something I'm starting to kind of believe KC will do, is not fill all 30 roster spots. I'm sure the team will fill all 4 remaining international spots, to put KC up to 25 players. Then they'll be able to sign 3 more American (or green card holder) players and get $35,000 in allocation for the 29th and 30th spot. Plenty is going to be answered in the next few weeks.


Anonymous said...

What category do you mean for Movsisyan and Gor? That they could claim citizenship in both countries?

Anonymous said...

I am really worried about this team... especailly a #10 and central defense...the west looks weak like last year but single table will be here soon and conference doesntmatter much anymore... New york looks like the runaway favorites... with columbus chicago and toronto reshaping their entire rosters anything is possible... Bravo had a great run in the copa libertadores... but ever since his disaterous spell in europe where he got cut by deportivo mid season after being their big summer signing he hasnt been really the same player in the fml production wise... could be a blanco, could be a nery castillo... shavr thomas is our starting center back, the only lock at that position and he was cut by a terrible philedlphia team last year who was already struggling with defenders...a #10 is still the key position... a #10 is the most important position and if you look at the last 10 mls champions all but one (last years rapids had a #10
2009:Real Salt Lake Javier Morales
2008:Columbus Schelotto
2007:Houston DeRosario
2006:Houston Derosario
2005:L.A Donvovan
2004:D.C United Chistian Gomez, Jaime Moreno also played in the hole
2003:San Jose Donovan

Mike said...

Anon 1, I mean that it's possible he has asylum status like Yura did. Yura was not and still is not a US citizen.

Anon 2, the West wasn't weak last year, it was incredibly strong. Based off the rest of your comment I think you meant East there. New York is the favorite in the east and then it's everyone else basically which leaves it wide open.

Bravo could play that #10 position and Vermes has said as much about him. And there continue to be the rumors of the #10 we're trying to sign like Rui Miguel.

Thomas was not cut by Philly, we traded for him. And it was a desperation trade after we found that Escobar was horrible, Vermes didn't feel comfortable with just Besler and Hohlbein with Conrad so he brought in another experienced center back and all of the sudden some of the silly stupid goals dried up. He's not been fantastic but he's been a calming and steady influence in defense.