Sporting KC's Robb Heineman gave another one of his Q&As on Twitter tonight, another #TweetnFly time as Heineman made his way down Tucson to observe some preseason there.
As expected, one of the topics that brought out the most questions was the current roster and fan concern over the loss of Krisztian Nemeth to Qatar. Heineman came out with his first question attempting to address the situation, at least a little bit saying that they were looking for a "#9" to back up Dom Dwyer, also saying that they were currently negotiating a contract. Heineman seemed confident that the team would have a player in time for the home opener on the 12th, but that the player wouldn't be a big name. Over the course of his answers he also said that they'd like to find themselves a young DP. A young DP offers the team more salary cap flexibility because they offer the team a lower cap hit, only $150,000 if the player is 20 or younger, only $200,000 if he's between 21 and 23 ,instead of the standard $436,250 that DPs are paid. Adding to that, Heineman said that the club was in negotiations with several DPs, and that the target position for those players is forward. On the topic of signing new foreign players, he said that it has gotten easier for the club to add those players, but that it's still not a slam dunk convincing players to play in KC.
Of players on the team currently, one of the recent rumors has been Marcel de Jong being on his way out of Kansas City, being told he has no place in the team. Heineman didn't confirm that he was gone, but when asked if de Jong was saying said "likely no." On the team's other players that appear to be on the outside looking in, Heineman again didn't give much away, but doesn't' expect Bernardo Anor or Amobi Okugo to be in KC's 18 for opening day.
Heineman was also asked about his team's coach, Peter Vermes and the reported interest in him by teams abroad. He believes that Vermes was never really interested in the rumored clubs that were supposedly trying to get him to coach their team. That led to a follow up question about Vermes and the national team, something that has been talked about quite often when Jurgen Klinsmann has struggled with the team. While Heineman thinks he'd be good in the position he doesn't see Klinsmann leaving for a while.
On the topic of Vermes, Heineman was asked about the rumors of his changing formations this season, Heineman said that Vermes had the team practicing in a 3-5-2 a lot. While it's a nice thought, it's something that's been discussed over the last few years since teams really started to catch onto KC's style of play. But each time KC may trot out the new formation in preseason or in a game but then revert back to the traditional 4-3-3 that the team has played since Vermes took over as the team's head coach. I'll belive that switch happens when I see it happening. He also was asked about the injuries and what the team has done to address the number of injuries over the past two years, saying that they're trying some new training techniques in 2016 to help with that.
On the topic of Sporting Club's latest team, the Swope Park Rangers, Heineman was asked about how the club was going to utilize the new team. Heineman says that the team will get several loaned players and he expects them to develop quality players for KC, standard line, but it's got to be the hope of pretty much everyone since the team was announced. On the topic of the Rangers, Heineman confirmed (like Sporting did earlier in the day) that the foreign center midfielder he'd mentioned on Twitter back in January was in fact Kevin Oliveira, the Cape Verde midfielder from Benfica. The team though seems very high on him as Heineman expects Oliveira to be on the first team by the end of this season.
As always with his Q&As he was asked a number of questions that he always gets asked giving more answers. The one that has probably come up every time is the expansion of Children's Mercy Park. In the past in these Q&As Heineman has said that there were plans and possibilities to expand the stadium, but as time has gone on those expectations have changed in Heineman's response. Tonight he came straight out and just answered "no" when asked if there were plans in the near future to expand the stadium. Since the news about potentially purchasing Everton surfaced, Heineman has had to face a number of questions about whether Sporting Club would go out and purchase another foreign team, but Heineman shot that idea down as well fairly quickly. He was also asked again about the training facility and when it would break ground, Heineman said that they are waiting on grading permits and that they'll be breaking ground in April.
Heineman also touched on a number of topics on MLS as a whole, from his feeling that the magic number of MLS teams is 28 to the league's biggest hurdle being getting better "average" players as he put it, although he also talked about fewer synthetic fields in the league as well. He also stated how he felt the league wasn't quite ready to get out of the teams ways yet, and instead still needed to go with metered growth for the league, and the the teams' academies need to catch up. He also took the political way out when discussing the LA Galaxy's ability to bring in players as well as when he was asked about the new Columbus Crew jersey.
Finally, there were all the random questions he answered that provided some insight on a number of topics, from his agreement with Peter Vermes' quotes about how an MLS team in St. Louis would be great for the team and the league to confirming that the team was still looking to put a PDL team in Garden City/Western KS. He also shot down the rumored Sporting KC/KC Royals television network that was rumored this offseason, saying that it'd be news to him. He also played coy about a pro futsal team in KC after the reports that Mark Cuban had joined up with the new professional futsal league. He also talked about jerseys, once again stating the league was doing away with "third jerseys," but saying that it would be two years before the club had an alternate jersey that featured a nod to the club's old rainbow jersey, maybe a throw back to the team's old original jersey, which is apparently his favorite.
It's always fun to get Heineman's insight, but it may be more fun to read the questions that don't actually get answered by him. And as always take it with a grain of salt, it took us years to get through a Q&A without a question about blue turf.