While the rest of the world was focused on the Department of Justice press conference about the charges in the FIFA corruption investigation, Sporting KC made a roster move that while surprising isn't wholly unexpected. The team announced today that they had come to terms with Luis Marin to mutually terminate his contract with the club.
Marin had started the team's first eight games of the season, going 2-2-4 as the starter, allowing 12 goals, a 1.5 goals against average. After the team's 4-4 draw in Houston, where Marin looked less than confident and gave up a bad goal from distance by Giles Barnes, Marin was replaced in goal by back up, Tim Melia. In the four games since then, Melia has gone 2-0-2, allowing just three goals, including a man of the match performance against the Seattle Sounders last weekend.
As I said, it's a surprising move simply because I thought Marin would get more time to settle into the league and lock down the starting position, but it seems Peter Vermes didn't have the patience to wait this one out. And to be fair, it's hard to blame him, Marin looked hesitant and indecisive on coming off his line, especially for crosses on set pieces, six of the goals allowed by KC with Marin in goal came from set pieces, while zero have been scored since Melia stepped into net.
So with Marin gone, the starting spot is now Melia's. He's the fifth goalkeeper to start in goal for KC over the past two years, the same number of starting goalkeepers as the much maligned Philadelphia Union who are made fun of for all their goalkeeping issues. His departure does open up an international slot for KC and at the same time probably opens up some decent cap space for the club as well to utilize in the upcoming summer transfer window.
With the release of Marin, KC has also recalled goalkeeper, Jon Kempin from his loan with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL. Kempin had started the first two games of the season for San Antonio, a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay and 2-1 loss to Indy Eleven, after that he had left for US U23 camp in California. Upon his return, Kempin has been the back up as the Scorpions have gone 2-0-3. Recalling him now keeps Kempin from being cap-tied to the Scorpions for this year's US Open Cup, as they open play tonight against the Austin Aztex.
As long as KC sees Melia as the starter, KC will likely look to fill the third goalkeeper slot with a young, cheap prospect who can be the club's third goalkeeper.