Now that the 2012 MLS SuperDraft has concluded, and Sporting Kansas City's training camp is officially underway, I thought ,"Why not take a look at the club's roster, and attempt to come up with a Starting XI, as well as first off the bench for each position?"
A lot of these are complete shoo-ins. Everyone knows the four players that will make up Kansas City's back line at the start of the season, but there are a couple of spots where things are a little more interesting.
Sporting has made a number of off-season moves, including the acquisitions of Bobby Convey, Paulo Nagamura, and Jacob Peterson. Out of the three new players, I would imagine Convey will be the only starter... at least on opening day.
I've written a little bit about Convey in the past. I actually think that Convey replacing Bravo on the left wing will help Kansas City's attack, as Bobby is a natural left winger, and he'll be looking much more to set up our center forwards with crosses into the box. Bravo spent much of his time cutting back into the middle of the pitch. Come to think of it, I really can't remember seeing Bravo cross a ball.
I can also envision Nagamura perhaps working his way into the starting lineup in the midfield alongside Graham Zusi and Julio Cesar somewhere down the line, especially if Roger Espinoza can't learn to control his emotions and exercise better judgement on the field more than what he has in the past.
I still think there is a chance that the club will bring in a designated player to play attacking midfield, but at this point, I'm not so sure that the club would be best served doing so (Robb Heineman tweeted earlier today that a DP signing in this window is unlikely at this point).
So as the roster stands, here's my projected Sporting Kansas City lineup, including a list of the players I think will round out the squad's best 18 at this point.
Center Forward- CJ Sapong
Wingers- Jacob Peterson
Midfielders- Paulo Nagamura, Michael Thomas
Fullback- Michael Harrington
Center back- Lawrence Olum
Goalkeeper- Eric Kronberg
- I've stated my opinion on the Teal/ CJ debate numerous times over the course of last season. CJ's the better overall player, but Teal will continue to start at center forward, allowing CJ to sub in where ever he's needed on a match to match basis.
- I could have easily listed Daneil Cyrus instead of Olum at center back depth, but I'll give Olum the nod because Daneil missed so much time last season, and because there's been talk that his loan deal will end in March. I do think rookie Cyprian Hedrick will factor in at some point in the season, just not in the early going.
- Wasn't too sure on whether I should put Michael Thomas or Peterson Joseph as the second midfielder off of the bench at this point, but I just have a feeling that Thomas, who I see as being the pro typical "Vermes" player, is going to have an impressive preseason. We didn't get to see much of Joseph last season, so we're still waiting to see why he's known as the "Haitian Xavi."
- I see Jacob Peterson as the first winger off the bench (not that there are many options) for Kansas City at the moment, more because of his previous MLS experience than anything related to skills. I think Vermes gives him the nod over a player like Dom Dwyer at the start. Of course, Dwyer could end up setting the world on fire, and he could easily force his way into some decent minutes.
- It will be interesting to see how Soony Saad's 2012 season plays out. The team is absolutely stacked at the striker position, and with the arrival of Dwyer, Saad could be even more hard pressed for playing time. I think Saad would have to be over Dwyer depth wise as of right now, but that could change if Dwyer is as explosive as the reports make him out to be.
- I'm definitely liking what I've heard from Michael Harrington so far. Sounds like he's looking to make the best out of his situation as the back up to both Chance Myers, and Seth Sinovic. I wouldn't be surprised if Harrington has a bounce back year in 2012.