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Sporting Kansas City 2014 Wishlist

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Dec 9, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Sporting KC midfielder/forward Graham Zusi (8) hoists the cup on stage during the MLS Cup Victory Celebration at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season was a very exciting one for Sporting Kansas City, with the club winning the MLS Cup on December 7th. But as with any team, there are improvements to be made before the start of the 2014 season. I got in touch with Nathan Edwards, the other Sporting KC contributor for KC Kingdom to see what his wishlist is for Sporting KC for 2014. Below you’ll see his wishlist followed by mine.

Nathan’s Wishlist:

1. A forward that we can rely on for goals. Claudio Bieler was, and is, a goal threat but it seems like Peter Vermes doesn’t like to play him and there were times that Bieler wasn’t getting the service he needed from the midfield. There were rumors that Bieler might be headed back to Central America as well, though it looks as though he’ll be around for another season. Sporting KC send in a lot of crosses, so a true target man would be great. A tall, powerful striker that can get on the end of those crosses like Kei Kamara used to do is what I want if we’re going to keep playing this style of attack.

2. Somehow improve on last year. I mean, let’s go on and win the CONCACAF Champions League, right!? Seriously, we have a great squad and good depth. It worries me a little though that we’ll be choosing between starting slow in the MLS or making a deep run in the continental competition, but for me I look at it like a ladder. We won the U.S. Open Cup, we won the Eastern Conference, we won the MLS Cup, now let’s go get the CONCACAF. Or a double, or a triple! Fill those cabinets!

3. It might be a little hopeful, but I’d like an immediate replacement to Jimmy Nielsen. The White Puma is a legend, and if Andy Gruenebaum or Eric Kronberg can step up and fill those shoes right away then I’ll be thrilled. Mainly, I just really don’t want to see a drop off in play even though I have confidence in our new guys to be better than adequate.

4. Last but not least…a Sporting KC beer from Boulevard Brewing Company. Several clubs are getting branded beers coming out of craft breweries in their cities, including DC United’s pretty cool looking can. Boulevard already has the Member’s Club at Sporting Park licensed, so it would be really cool to get them even more involved. Craft beer and soccer have a great partnership as the little guys against bigger, mainstream competition (Anheuser-Busch/Coors; NFL…you know what I’m getting at) and I’d like to see that strengthened even more.

Brandon’s Wishlist

1. Like Nathan, I want to see Sporting KC bring in a reliable goal scorer. It has been tough for Sporting to find a reliable goal scorer the past few seasons. Do you know who scored the most goals for Sporting KC in the playoffs? Defender Aurelien Collin. With Sporting acquiring Sal Zizzo from Portland, I believe he can be a great winger to provide service to whomever comes into the forward position for Sporting KC. With Zizzo and Graham Zusi providing service, it would be nice to have someone up front to finish the service they will be providing.

2. With Nielsen retiring, Sporting KC will need to find someone to replace him as the captain of the team. I would like to see Matt Besler take the captain’s armband. I believe Besler has the ability to be a leader on the pitch, and with him being a Kansas City native, what would be better than having him captain the best sports team in Kansas City?

3. This wish may be a bit premature, but I would like to see plans surface in 2014 for expanding the seating at Sporting Park. The club has sold out something like 35 straight games the past few seasons, and the team is more popular than ever in Kansas City. While Sporting Park is the best soccer specific stadium in the United States, it is also one of the smallest. It would be nice to add something like 4,000 seats to bring the capacity up to over 22,000. I believe that would be a nice number for the stadium, and I think the club wouldn’t have problems selling those extra seats. Expanding the stadium is still a few years out, but it would be nice to see what the plans are this season.

That is what we would like to see in 2014 from Sporting KC. What do you want to see? Leave a comment below!