Sporting KC made MLS history today making the first MLS free agent signing under the new CBA's rules that grant free agency to MLS players out of contract who meet age (28) and experience (8) requirements. The team announced today that they'd signed midfielder Justin Mapp, who last played with the Montreal Impact. The 31 year old Mapp had a down season missing much of the season with a broken elbow he picked up in Montreal's season opener against DC.
Throughout his career though Mapp has been able to provide service down the wing and will be able to come in and immediately fight for minutes for Kansas City. He becomes a much more appealing wing option than the incumbent winger substitutes like Bernardo Anor, Connor Hallisey, and Jacob Peterson. Entering his 15th MLS season, Mapp is now on his fifth team having played with the Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire, and DC United along with the previously mentioned Impact. In that time Mapp has racked up 22 goals and 65 assists in just over 300 league games played for those four teams.
With the signing KC is only able to sign one more MLS free agent apparently. In today's release Peter Vermes said that the way he understands the rules teams can only sign two free agents in a year. What that means is that KC may be making some tough decisions on other free agent signings. Robb Heineman had mentioned both Mapp and Mike Magee as free agent targets in a previous tweet but at the same time KC has one of their own players who is a free agent in Paulo Nagamura. If the rule is true KC would have just one spot left to sign one of those two players if they are both still targets. Nagamura has been a fan favorite and his poise on penalty kicks has helped KC to three trophies, but turning 33 early next year is certainly a question at a salary over $200,000. Magee meanwhile would provided some more scoring punch for KC, but would likely need to come off the bench for the 31 year old and happen with a very large pay cut from the $400,000 he made last year with Chicago.
Overall the signing of Mapp is a good pick up for KC, one that addresses a big need in terms of improving KC's depth on the wing. It will be interesting to see how much Mapp pushes Graham Zusi on the wing after a season and a half of less than stellar play from one of Kansas City's designated players.