Sporting Kansas Metropolis has a reasonably poor historical past with signing free brokers in MLS. Nonetheless, within the 2022-23 offseason, the principles have gotten somewhat higher. Not are all of the gamers on the listing on the very finish of their careers (although there are nonetheless a bunch of these guys), as an alternative they solely must be 24-years-old and have 5 years of MLS service to be a free agent. Due to that, there are literally a whole lot of high quality guys on the listing, a lot of that are already drawing curiosity across the league.
Earlier than we get into who Sporting KC ought to take a look at signing, it is price what their positions of want are. Fortunately, The Blue Testomony delivered these to you yesterday. The brief model is that this:
- Most likely two to 3 centerbacks
- Proper again if Zusi would not re-sign
- Defensive midfielder depth (or a Uri Rosell substitute if he is purchased out)
Main League Soccer launched their full listing of free brokers, which embrace guys out of contract or who had their choices declined within the current days. SKC have three gamers that meet the free agent definition:
- Graham Zusi
- Roger Espinoza
- Andreu Fontas
The staff is at the moment negotiating with all three of them (hopefully all at decreased salaries). Now let’s get to who ought to be thought-about as a possible goal (outdoors of those recognized ones), realizing in fact, they cannot (and should not) signal all of them. We’ll break it down by place, since that is how we did the world of want piece yesterday.
Alexander Callens (New York Metropolis FC)
2022 Wage: $814,000
Callens is a 30-year-old left-footed CB who’s a Peruvian Worldwide (although he would not occupy a world spot). Whereas Sporting KC have a minimum of Robert Voloder and probably Fontas, as left-sides CBs, Callens is among the premier free brokers on this crop of gamers. It is doubtless he’ll need a increase, however SKC freed up cash by declining the choice of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin.
He scored 5 occasions for NYCFC in 2022, which might be good for Sporting to have a CB who can get onto the tip of corners and set items. He additionally ranks within the 99th percentile for CBs for non-PK anticipated targets + assists in line with FBRef.com. Moreover he is within the 97th percentile for progressive passes, ninetieth in touches within the opponents field and 89th in cross completion share.
His numbers dip a bit in protection, however that could possibly be as a result of NYCFC play with the ball and are not defending as a lot. Then once more, it could possibly be a crimson flag. If he completely cannot play the RCB position, I would cross on him except Fontas is not introduced again.
Aaron Lengthy (New York Crimson Bulls)
2022 Wage: $1,080,000
The opposite premier CB within the free agent class is at the moment in Qatar with the USMNT. He is additionally 30, additionally an attacking menace (4 targets in 2022) and is a incredible presence within the air (91st percentile in aerials received).
Nonetheless, it is rumored he desires a Designated Participant deal. If that is the case, then completely do not signal him. If his wage calls for come again to earth, I would not rule it out.
He barely performed in 2021 after a severe harm however returned to kind in 2022. He is much less of a match for SKC as a result of his cross completion share is within the seventeenth percentile for CBs. He can be requested to play a lot totally different for Sporting than for RBNY. Far more like he performs with the USMNT. The World Cup will likely be a very good barometer of if he can play that method. The issue is, if he can, his value will go up and I doubt Sporting have a look. A traditional catch-22.
Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
2022 Wage: $900,000
It is kind of wild how laborious it’s to seek out good CBs and that three of them hit free company on the similar time (although their SKC positional match is up for debate). Hedges is somewhat older (32) than the others on the listing and is already drawing curiosity elsewhere, together with FC Cincinnati who declined the choice of forming United States Nationwide staff CB Geoff Cameron.
Now that it is out… Sources can verify FC Cincinnati are in talks with free agent heart again Matt Hedges, who visited Cincy right this moment, however no deal is reached but. Different golf equipment as effectively.
Hedges, 32, is FC Dallas all-time membership chief in appearances. https://t.co/nATdCMvEnQ
—Tom Bogert (@tombogert) November 17, 2022
A part of me desires Hedges simply to poke at Dallas. Then once more, he is getting old, costly and simply within the 67th percentile in cross completion share (84.7%). I am speaking myself out of it probably the most I write.
For a better take a look at the CB comparisons, listed here are some stats from FBref evaluating these three with Fontas and Isi.
Erik Hurtado (Columbus Crew)
2022 Wage: $84,000
Within the two seasons since Hurtado left Sporting KC, he hasn’t had a lot of an opportunity on the pitch. He scored three targets in simply 1,005 minutes, all of which got here final 12 months with Columbus. There’s some query if he can be welcomed again as he beforehand refused to be vaccinated which triggered CF Montreal to commerce him to Columbus and at one level Sporting have been 100% vaccinated.
If he is keen to come back again, he would make good sense as a 3rd striker (behind Pulido and Agada). He works actually laborious and is a succesful purpose scorer off the bench. In his two seasons in KC he scored seven occasions in 1,197 minutes of league play.
Only a fast reminder, Khiry Shelton received a three-year extension (with a fourth 12 months choice) after 1,407 minutes in 2022 with only a single purpose within the league (I do know, I do know, he supposedly does different issues apart from scoring).
Hurtado is 32, but when he can come off the bench and rating and would not thoughts being the third CF choice, I would signal him. Plus he is actually low-cost. It actually comes right down to the place Vermes sees Shelton enjoying too.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (New England Revolution)
2022 Wage: $647,860
That is in all probability unlikely, identical to Derrick Ettiene Jr., who we tossed out as a candidate however already seems to be on the move. Tajouri-Shradi is a savvy veteran and perhaps would not need the position as third or 4th winger on this staff. And he could also be an excessive amount of cash with a lot already being spent within the assault by KC.
The Libya worldwide would not require a world roster spot and can flip 29-years-old on the finish of March. He had a profession low in appearances in 2022 however nonetheless managed two targets in simply 167 league minutes. Over his 5 12 months MLS profession, whereas by no means being a constant starter, he has 26 targets and 5 assists. Once more, in all probability too costly, however price a glance.
Proper Again (if Zusi would not re-sign)
Anton Tinnerholm (New York Metropolis FC)
2022 Wage: $800,000
I actually do not see a world the place Zusi would not come again, but when he would not and you are not positive that Kayden Pierre is able to be the person, then Tinnerholm can be a very good pickup. He is somewhat pricey and he missed a lot of 2022 with an harm, which is probably going why he isn’t on NYCFC anymore. However within the 4 years earlier than that, I would say he was one of the best proper again within the league.
He does flip 32 in February, so he isn’t spring rooster. However earlier than this harm, he is been good for 22 or extra begins annually and over 2,000 minutes in every. That’d nonetheless depart room for Pierre to develop and out of the blue you’d have one of many leagues greatest attacking proper backs on the staff. Then once more, offense is not what this staff wants and somebody extra defensively sound could also be most well-liked.
Kyle Duncan (New York Crimson Bulls)
2022 Wage: $293,610
This might be a trickier transfer as a result of the previous RBNY Homegrown was solely again in MLS due to a mortgage from KV Oostende within the Belgium first division. He is solely 25 and it seems his mortgage expired and he is set to return to Belgium. He’s a very strong defender, constantly making well timed tackles and blocks. His passing leaves one thing to be desired, however that might simply be a system factor.
Whereas he is technically a free agent, he would require one other mortgage (or buy) from KV Oostende, which I doubt is one thing KC can be focused on doing as they’ve by no means been a mortgage heavy staff.
Ryan Hollingshead was in all probability my dream RB choice as he is constantly one of many leagues greatest, however he re-signed with LAFC.
Jhegson “Sebas” Mendez (LAFC)
2022 Wage: $636,750
Sebas has been a rotational piece at d-mid for Los Angeles FC after coming over from Orlando Metropolis and is at the moment in Qatar representing Ecuador within the World Cup. Importantly, he would not take up a world roster spot, which is essential as a result of Sporting are dangerously low on them.
Mendez is just 25 and would match into the midfield from a passing perspective as a result of he was within the ninety fifth percentile in passing share and 99th in progressive passes final 12 months. He hasn’t usually needed to play in a single pivot, so I am undecided if he has that instrument in his bag. However he is a extra bodily presence than anybody enjoying that spot for KC, which might be a pleasant choice to have. He is additionally within the 99th percentile in blocks and eighty fifth in clearances.
Evaluating him to Remi Walter, he beats him on each single defensive stat on a per 90 foundation except for center third tackles (and that is simply barely). So he’d positively be a extra defensive choice that also has good progressive passing.
The one method this works monetarily is that if SKC purchase out Rosell, as a result of Mendez is simply too costly in any other case. If he has that single pivot skill, then this looks like a very good choice.