Thursday, November 19, 2015

Heineman Talks DPs, Everton, the Offseason, and More

Robb Heineman is always good for some interesting information in the majority of his interviews. Usually you can get information regarding the team's plans for the future and some insight into what the team is looking at. His recent interview with ProSoccer Talk that came out today is no exception as Heineman provides insight on new a new designated player, Everton, the offseason, the Swope Park Rangers, and other things.

On the big talking point of the designated player, Heineman talked about a new direction the team is going with regards to finding their next designated player. All four of the team's prior designated players that weren't prompted from within (Claudio Lopez, Omar Bravo, Jeferson, Claudio Bieler) have all come from Mexico or South America. While all but Jeferson have had some measure of success while here, they haven't fully lived up to the billing of a designated player. Instead, Heineman says that Sporting is focused on Europe, specifically Eastern Europe along with Spain and Portugal. Heineman touted their working relationship with Barcelona B as well as the success that another Eastern European, Krisztian Nemeth, has had with Sporting KC as reasons for this change in scouting. Heineman also explained how the team won't be going after the Andrea Pirlo's or Steven Gerrard's of the world, that it is not their formula. He also explained that the players they're looking to bring in will require either the Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) or require them to be designated players. With two DPs already on the roster, KC could be looking to pay down one of Matt Besler or Graham Zusi, or both to bring in these potential signings.

On the topic of Sporting Club purchasing EPL side Everton FC, Heineman stated a lot of the same things that he did when the news originally came out. He talked about how they'd been interested over the summer but it's not something that they were actively pursuing. Heineman talked about American owners moving into the EPL and said that he wouldn't be surprised to see more, and again stated that if anyone in Sporting Club gets involved with an EPL team, it will likely be as a group.

In terms of the offseason, Heineman lamented the teams dip in form down the stretch for the second straight season. He talked about the ability to have gone further if they'd have been able to secure home field advantage, and even if they had been able to beat Portland he felt that things lined up well for Sporting KC to make it to MLS. But looking towards next year Heineman said the team had two specific areas that the team felt they must strengthen before next year. Heineman talked about how the team had more depth this and talked up the club's three rookies, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Amadou Dia, and Connor Hallisey, but lamented the lack of an impact substitute off the bench when they needed a shot in the arm for the offense. So one of the things the team feels they need is some attacking depth. It's an area that many fans have called for the team to address. The other area that the team felt they needed to focus on in Heineman's words was central defender, where he said "bringing in another high-quality central defender is going to make some sense for us."

With Ike Opara going down with a second straight season ending injury, and the fourth of his career, it is hard to argue that point. While Kevin Ellis performed well, it's an area that you'd be hard pressed to argue that KC doesn't need to address.

On the Swope Park Rangers, Heineman said that the club is looking at their USL team as a developmental tool for their players first. Bridging the gap between the academy and the first team is what the Rangers are looking to focus on. He talked up the relationship that Sporting has had with their two affiliates, Orlando and Oklahoma City, but emphasized that with players there it isn't purely focused on player development and that now the two teams can train on the same field. Heineman also talked about the coaching staff being announced on Friday, with rumors being that it will be former Ottawa Fury coach, Marco dos Santos who just left the club after they made a run to the Soccer Bowl.
Overall there's a lot of really good information in the interview with Heineman and is well worth the full read.


Anonymous said...

Sorry... Ellis is NOT a center defender. The combo of lack of size and poor decision making was deadly to SKC this season.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree that Ellis is not a center back. Just because "Rudy" makes one great play and tries really hard, it does not mean he should be your starter. I think Jake Peterson is another example of someone who is in the same boat.