Sporting KC started preseason last week ahead of their 2021 season, which is slated to kick off on April 17.
Sporting Kansas City will be looking to return to the playoffs once again, however, they will be doing so without a couple of fan favorites and less momentum to begin this season than they had last year.
There were no record-breaking signings like they had with Alan Pulido, but they did make another effort at addressing the issues in the defense.
The core will look different this year without Matt Besler, but they still have no shortage of veterans around with Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, and Tim Melia. Even with some solid veterans around, the team will put more pressure on their Academy products than ever before.
Who is out for Sporting KC?
Leaving the club were goalkeepers Richard Sanchez and Eric Dick; defenders Matt Besler and Winston Reid; midfielders Felipe Gutierrez and Wan Kuzain; forwards Gerso and Erik Hurtado.
Headlining the more recent departures are Gerso and Felipe Gutierrez. Gerso has signed for South Korea’s Jeju United FC while Gutierrez looks set to sign for Universidad Católica after he announced his departure on Sunday morning.
It would have been nice to keep Gutierrez, but SKC will move on from him seamlessly since he never played last season due to injury. Gerso’s shoes are going to be difficult to fill considering the lack of options upfront.
Who is new to Sporting KC?
Coming in were goalkeepers Brooks Thompson and Kendall McIntosh; defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin; midfielders Remi Walter and Grayson Barber; forward Ozzie Cisneros. Benny Feilhaber also returned to SKC as a member of the coaching staff.
SKC has bolstered their midfield with the addition of Remi Walter. They also brought in a much-needed center back, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. Both are French and can be expected to compete for a starting spot this season.
What is still needed for Sporting KC?
Sporting KC’s greatest need is another left winger. There is no doubt that the starting front three are very strong, but after that, there isn’t much there. The first choice would be Daniel Salloi, who has scored just one goal in the past two seasons. After that, you look to Academy players who have yet to appear in a game or midfielders who would play on the wing.
Overall, this SKC team should be good enough to compete, but they still have a lot to prove before they can be considered a contender for MLS Cup.
With about seven weeks of preparation remaining, Sporting still has time to find another couple of pieces to add to make those more complete. I wouldn’t expect anything big, but maybe one or two smaller signings could help fill out the team’s depth.