Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sporting Lose Zizzo in Expansion Draft, Pick Up Anibaba

The MLS expansion draft is done, and Sporting KC pretty much made it out of the draft unscathed. The only player from Sporting KC that was selected in the draft was winger, Sal Zizzo, who had already had his option declined by the club. New York City FC took Zizzo with their 9th pick of the expansion draft. Zizzo had played 19 league games for KC, 24 in all competitions, and scored one goal for the club. He also added three assists in league play for Kansas City. The loss of Zizzo is felt more off the field because of his role in the Benny Feilhaber Show. With Zizzo off the board, Sporting had pulled back forward, Jacob Peterson. But with just two picks left, no more Sporting players were taken.

On top of Zizzo not being expected back, Sporting also got themselves allocation money for the pick.

The other part of the draft that Sporting fans were keeping an eye on were Orlando's selections. With the future considerations from the Aurelien Collin trade still hanging out there, each pick that Orlando made was met with comments of disappointment or hope that a player would be coming to KC. After Orlando's fourth pick, Pedro Ribeiro, was taken, Sporting's President Tweeted "Nice pick by Orlando..." immediately getting fans to focus on that pick specifically, but the top four in general.

After the draft was over, the future considerations became clear as sources in both Orlando and Kansas City said that it was former Seattle Sounders defender, Jalil Anibaba, taken with Orlando's third pick, that was headed to Kansas City. Anibaba played in 16 games for the Sounders last year, starting 14 of them. That was his first season in Seattle, before that he'd spent four years in Chicago. In 2013 with the Fire, Anibaba played every minute of Chicago's 34 games. Anibaba had been drafted one spot before Sporting KC's former forward, CJ Sapong in the 2011 draft. He'd actually been a player that myself and others thought would be a good fit for Kansas City as Sporting had needed center back depth heading into the 2011 season. Overall, I think getting Anibaba is a good move. He's experienced and gives KC options at both center back and right back. He's also not overly expensive, with a 2014 base salary of just under $120,000. His guaranteed compensation is a little higher, close to $160,000, but still manageable for Kansas City.

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