Sporting KC is looking to regain it’s form of a few years ago in 2017. That begins with preseason activities now taking place in Arizona.
The 2016 campaign ended in disappointment for Sporting KC. After a five-year stretch as a titan in Major League Soccer, the Kansas City franchise has been just average over the past few years. The team knows that and are ready for a change. As forward Dom Dwyer recently stated: “This year it’s really win or bust. Winning is the only thing for us.” Getting to that point starts with preseason activities.
Sporting KC kicked off their preseason program yesterday in Arizona with the start of club activities. One of the stories to watch during the preseason will be the aforementioned Dom Dwyer who is coming off of surgery. The leading scorer for Sporting over the last three years struggled with a foot injury in 2016. So far he is sitting out activities but is expected back soon.
Also missing from the practice pitch is defender Chris Myers who signed with the Portland Timbers on Monday. The loss is a considerable one, but Sporting KC has looked to ease that loss with the addition of Igor Juliao on loan from Fluminense of Brazil. He has previously spent time in Kansas City, so he brings both talent and familiarity with him.
“This year it’s really win or bust. Winning is the only thing for us.” ~ Dom Dwyer on 2017 season.
Another good addition for Sporting KC this year will be the returns of Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber. Besler is coming off of injury issues that shortened his 2016 campaign. Feilhaber is back with KC after re-signing with the club in the offseason. Having the two members of the US Men’s National Team (along with defender Graham Zusi) is a huge plus.
Young Guns Added
Another interesting wrinkle to the 2017 Sporting KC roster is the addition of a trio of young international up and comers. During the offseason, Sporting signed Ghana’s Latif Blessing, Spain’s Ilie Sanchez, and Portugal’s Gerso Fernandes. Those three players, in addition to Igor Juliao, give KC a strong group of young international talent.
Sporting KC also added Cameron Iwasa of the USL and Christian Volesky from the Portland Timbers. They will join first-round draft pick Colton Storm as the newest American talents on the roster.
With those additions, plus the veteran core of Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, and Matt Belser, Sporting KC should be very competitive this year. This club needs to regain its spot at the top of the mountain, and it appears they have put in the work to make that happen. Now it’s all a matter of getting to business and getting ready for the start of the season.
It’s easy to forget that Sporting KC is the most successful professional sports team in Kansas City. In a town that is football first and baseball second, there isn’t always much room for a soccer club. However, Sporting is making their presence felt. Adding another championship is a sure fire way to grab even more attention from the Kansas City fan base.