At long last, Monday morning finally brought the first bit of official roster news of the 2011 preseason for Sporting Kansas City. The team announced via their website, under no major public production, that the team had officially parted ways with forward Sunil Chhetri and defender Nick Kounenakis - both players with the team in 2010, but both players expected to be released before the 2011 season.
The big thing that was thought to come of that original news were the opening of two additional international roster slots. With so many international trialists in preseason camp with Sporting KC and the moves finally being officially announced, this reaffirms that prior belief.
That means mostly one big thing with technical director/head coach Peter Vermes - he's already found someone better than both of those players, and he has no hesitation to cut you in that situation. Neither player ever made an appearance in an MLS league game, though Kounenakis did make the gameday eighteen a handful of times.
As said, those moves were more than expected to happen. In all honesty, it was a bit surprising it took so long to announce them. The one roster move on Monday that may have been a bit of a surprise to some was the release of a brand new player, one thought to be in the mix for playing time in his rookie year.
More on that after the jump....
When defender/midfielder JT Murray was selected in the second round of the 2011 MLS Super Draft, team president Robb Heineman tweeted, "JT Murray it is....good cover for roger during gold cup" which lead many to believe that he would be competing for playing time with the first team during the June CONCACAF tournament that could pull starting leftback Roger Espinoza away from his club for up to a month. I was one of those people under that impression, so Monday's news is a bit disappointing.
There was no reason or quotes given by Vermes as to why Murray was one of the players released. One would have to think that he just didn't stand out during the first two weeks of preseason training and Vermes felt the team wasn't really losing anything by letting him go. What it does bring into question, though, and I won't spend much time on this because it's a whole nother topic for a whole nother day, is the validity of a "scouting combine" in soccer. Murray, it seems, became the "Robert Gallery" of NFL combine busts.
So, for which player could the release of Murray be a good omen? Korede Aiyegbusi, it seems, could be impressing Vermes enough to the point where he feels the small defender could fill in for Espinoza. Really, there's nothing more than roster logic to base this on, but for last year's second round pick to possibly be starting to pan out, amidst the release of this year's second rounder, may quiet Vermes' draft critics a bit.
Also released on Monday was midfielder Sam Scales. Scales was the overall winner of the "beep test" on the first day of training two weeks ago, so that looks to be his all-time claim to fame in Kansas City.