Sporting KC: Moving on from Matt Besler is the right decision

Matt Besler, Sporting KC (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Matt Besler, Sporting KC (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Matt Besler’s time with Sporting KC has come to an end, but it was absolutely the right move.

Sporting KC announced the roster moves ahead of the 2021 MLS season, and the most notable outcome was that Matt Besler‘s contract is out with no indication of contract negotiations being held between the two parties.

The former SKC captain finished his Sporting Kansas City career with 345 matches, three goals, and 16 assists to go along with four major trophies. As a central defender, he certainly wasn’t a Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi-type of figure, but he was as calm of a player as you will ever find and a very classy captain as well. He was simply impossible to hate and very easy to like.

The move definitely hurts, but it’s the right move for Sporting KC, as tough as that is to admit.


Besler took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to give his emotional thoughts and said he will enter the free agency market.

While it is hard to believe that Besler will play for a club outside of Kansas City, it was absolutely time for him to move on. The man that was once deemed irreplaceable was needing to be replaced for what some may say several years. After captaining Sporting since Jimmy Nielsen’s retirement following the club’s 2013 MLS Cup win, Besler did his duties as captain with great maturity and class.

Over the course of his career, Besler was as reliable of a defender as you’ll get. His mistakes were rare and his highlight reel was small because he didn’t have to make too many big plays, always had fantastic positioning, and knew where to be. While quiet, Besler was also a key asset offensively with his ability to ping long diagonal balls with great accuracy.

Throughout his 12-year career with his hometown team, Besler was a four-time MLS All-Star, two-time MLS Best XI, and won the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year award along with winning three U.S. Open Cups and the 2013 MLS Cup. Indeed, a career that will be incredibly difficult to match for future generations.

Despite how stable he has been over the longevity of his career, he has become more and more fragile in recent years. From 2011 until 2014, he was one of the best defenders in MLS. Once he came back from the 2014 World Cup, he slowly started to deteriorate. In an attempt to prolong his career with the USMNT, he was tried at left-back, but it wasn’t a good fit for a guy that has never been the fastest guy around.

Recent years have brought injury after injury and his spot in the team was no longer guaranteed in the last two years. This year, it was evident that his decline had reached a level that would no longer work with SKC. The defender that used to be so precise with his positioning and passing seemed to make one or two mistakes a game that would come back to bite while his speed wasn’t able to make up for those mistakes.

Seth Sinovic started the changing of the guard with his departure last season, Besler has now followed suit this season, and Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi will follow in the years to come.

It is now time for Peter Vermes to find the next successful center back pairing that will hopefully bring more silverware to the club, which has now gone three consecutive seasons without a trophy, the longest drought since the eight-year drought the club faced from 2004 until 2012 between their first and second Open Cup titles.

Next. Four Reasons for SKC Fans to Be Thankful. dark