Sporting Kansas City opened up a roster spot today with the announcement that the club has traded defender/midfielder Lawrence Olum to the Portland Timbers in exchange for $50,000 in general allocation money and a 2018 first round pick.
Olum has spent his entire MLS career with Sporting Kansas City where he appeared in 105 games across all competitions, 86 in league play and scored five goals for Sporting KC. He was an integral part in Sporting KC's 2012 US Open Cup where he started in place of the suspended Aurelien Collin and the 2013 MLS Cup when he was an early substitute for the injured Oriol Rosell. He'd made his return to Kansas City last season after spending the 2015 season in Malaysia. Last year he'd 19 appearances for Kansas City, 17 of them starts, many of them at center back, where for a period of time, Olum was the preferred center back partner of Ike Opara as Nuno Coelho was injured and Matt Besler was on national team duty, injured, and out of form. This year though, Olum looked to be sliding down the depth chart, he was likely fourth on the center back depth chart behind Besler, Opara, and Kevin Ellis, and likely third at the defensive midfield position behind Soni Mustivar and Ilie Sanchez. To get $50,000 in allocation money and a first round pick for someone that on paper wasn't going to get much time in league play is quite good for Kansas City depending on where the first round pick of the Timbers ends up.
Olum previously played for the Portland Timbers back when they were in the USL in the 2007 and 2008 seasons appearing 44 times for the Timbers. His departure from KC puts Sporting's roster at 27 currently with first round pick Colton Storm still in camp. KC could also use the spot to add some midfield depth, an area where on paper KC still looks a little thin.