Sporting Kansas City today announced roster moves for the end of the 2015 season. The team announced that they had declined the club option on defender Jalil Anibaba. Anibaba, who was acquired by Kansas City in the offseason in a deal with Orlando City that sent Aurelien Collin to the expansion club, played in 16 games for KC in 2015, starting 14 of them. He became a starter three games into the 2015 season after KC's defensive issues in a 3-1 loss to Dallas. Anibaba proceeded to start the next 13 games for Kansas City at right back. Unfortunately after that Anibaba got hurt in training and missed all of July and August. When he returned in September he made just three more appearances, only one start, the club's 1-1 draw with Seattle when starters were rested in preparation for the US Open Cup final. Anibaba could play both right back and center back, but never lined up in the middle of defense for Kansas City. Even when both Ike Opara and Kevin Ellis were down, teenager Erik Palmer-Brown was preferred to Anibaba at center back. Anibaba will now go into the re-entry draft in December.
KC also announced that there were five players out of contract, goalkeeper Jon Kempin, midfielders Mikey Lopez, Soni Mustivar, and Paulo Nagamura, and defender Seth Sinovic. Sporting announced that they were extend offers to all five of those players in the hopes that they would return in 2016. Re-signing Mustivar has to be the priority of the five with his standing as a starter at this point. Kempin as the perceived future starter in goal also should probably be a priority. The other three it becomes a question of what the players are wanting and where the club stands depth wise. Lopez will graduate from the Generation Adidas program that means his salary next year would count against the cap. The question is whether he's contributed enough to justify it. On Nagamura it likely will come down to salary demands. Nagamura will turn 33 next season and while he's been great for the club, making $230,000 or more may not be the best way to spend cap space. But it's hard to argue with what he's done for the team. As for Sinovic, it depends on his recovery from his concussion to me. I've said many times how I feel he wasn't the same player after the concussion. It becomes about where he's at and how he's doing for me on whether you bring him back as well.
Also today KC announced they'd picked up the option on 13 other players; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Amadou Dia, Kevin Ellis, Benny Feilhaber, Connor Hallisey, Jimmy Medranda, Tim Melia, Chance Myers, Krisztian Nemeth, Ike Opara, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Jordi Quintilla. That list combined with the list of players KC currently have under contract; Bernardo Anor, Matt Besler, Marcel de Jong, Dom Dwyer, Roger Espinoza, Amobi Okugo, Jacob Peterson, and Graham Zusi puts KC at 20 players under contract for 2016. Add in the five players that the team is said to be making offers to that were on the team last year and you're up to 25 of 28 roster already filled. That's not to say that players who had their option picked up won't be waived during preseason, or that trades won't be made. But at the moment it appears that plenty of the team will be back for the start of the 2016 season.