Monday, November 26, 2012

Espinoza Headed to Wigan

Word earlier tonight from Grant Wahl on Twitter is that Roger Espinoza is one step closer to leaving Kansas City for England and Wigan Athletic.  Wahl posted that Espinoza is on his way to England for a physical with the Greater Manchester club.  The news is confirmed by his agent in this article from Honduran sports site, Diez.  Comments from Robb Heineman and Peter Vermes confirm the departure of Espinoza from Kansas City.  For those that don't know, the physical is usually the last step in the process before signing a contract with a club.  With Espinoza on a free he can sign at any time, but will not be eligible to play until the January transfer window opens up.

This move was coming, especially after his solid performance in the Olympics.  He was already a target of teams abroad before hand, but his play in the London games catapulted him into the eyes of English teams more so.  It'll certainly be a sad moment for lots of KC fans who have gone from calling him "Roger the Red" and "Red Card Roger" after he picked up two red cards in back to back appearances to seeing him as one of the most important pieces of the team. One thing is that since Espinoza is leaving on a free and Sporting KC made a "bona fide" offer on him, KC will retain his MLS rights should he return to the league in the future.

Espinoza is set to become the third former KC player to play for an English Premier League side, joining Richard Gough and Eddie Johnson.  He'll be only the second (after Johnson) to not start his career outside the US.

Espinoza will finish his Sporting KC career having scored 2 goals, and 11 assists in league play (he added another assist in all competitions).  He played in 130 games in all competitions for KC, good for a tie for 16th all time with Jose Burciaga and Uche Okafor.  Of those 106 of them were starts, good for 18th all time.  In league play he finished with 113 appearances, good for 18th and 93 starts, tying him with Mark Chung for 20th.  Espinoza finished with 8,250 minutes in league play and 9,602 in all competitions, good for 19th on that list.  He'll finish his KC career with 4 red cards in league play, 5 in all competitions tying him with Davy Arnaud on both lists behind Nick Garcia.

Espinoza also leaves KC as the most capped foreign international while playing with KC.  He finishes his KC career with 25 caps and 3 goals for his national team while playing for KC.  Only Josh Wolff, Jimmy Conrad, and Preki appeared more for their national team while representing Kansas City.

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