News and story topics are flying fast and furious around the Kansas City sports scene in recent days. The Royals have made a flurry of minor roster moves and are involved in plenty of trade rumors as the Winter Meetings kick off tomorrow. Yesterday Kansas State football secured it’s spot in a BCS bowl game while the Jayhawks, on the other end of the spectrum, finished without a win in the conference. Basketball is also in full swing for all four of the schools in the Kingdom. On top of that we have the Chiefs, and more specifically the Jovan Belcher story on my article to do pile right now.
With all these topics on my plate I have neglected to cover a number of items that relate to Sporting KC. Since time is always the rate limiting factor when it comes to my writing, I’m going to touch on these soccer topics in quick, rapid fire fashion.
- On Monday, four members of Sporting KC were voted to the MLS Best XI for 2012. MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler was obviously so honored as was Aurelien Collin who finished third in the defender or the year voting. Midfielder Graham Zusi and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen also made the squad. For more on the Best XI head here to get the SKC spin and here to read the more in depth and official MLS article. If you want even more, you can head here for the thoughts of Pro Soccer Talk’s Richard Farley.
- Also on Monday, it became official that Sporting midfielder Roger Espinoza was heading to the English Premier League to play for Wigan Athletic. His departure was expected and hardly a secret but it is a blow to the home team’s depth and plan of attack. Steve Davis suggested on Tuesday that Espinoza might be one of the most underrated players in all of MLS.
- Wednesday it was Jimmy Nielsen’s turn to land an individual award when he was named the 2012 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year. The news was hardly a surprise since Nielsen was named to the Best XI two days earlier. With the “White Puma” in goal we truly were in good hands and he took home the honors is a landslide. As noted in a KC Star article, Nielsen is ready to get next season started.
- Thursday MLS named San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski its Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season. Like Nielsen a day earlier, Wondo’s selection was basically a forgone conclusion as he tied the MLS record for goals in a single season with 27. The voting wasn’t remotely close as Wondolowski ran away with the voting but SKC’s Graham Zusi did move the needle and registered some consideration finishing third.