Sporting Kansas City made their first moves of the offseason Wednesday, picking up options on 12 players and declining one for Jalil Anibaba. They also announced that five players will be out of contract but that they will extend offers to all five of them.
Earlier in the offseason, I made an offseason checklist for Sporting KC and they actually achieved one of the items on the list with this series of moves. As the offseason goes on, I'll continue to update the list after the re-entry draft, the MLS Superdraft in January, and after other player moves such as releases or signings.
Here is the updated list as a result of the roster moves.
1) Re-sign Tim Melia Achieved 11/25. Sporting KC picks up Tim Melia's 2016 option.
2) Sign a Centerback
3) Add forward depth
4) Restructure Graham Zusi's contract...
5) ...and give that money to Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth
6) Make a defensive midfield decision
7) Release Marcel de Jong, Mikey Lopez and Jacob Peterson
8) Sign a backup keeper
9) Make a decision at left back
10) Depth at attacking midfielder
So not a lot of headway made into the list, but a big priority is checked off by picking up Melia's option. It gives them another season with a solid keeper at the helm and then they can reassess Kempin's status -- should he re-sign with Sporting KC -- at the end of 2016.
By declining Anibaba's option, Sporting creates more depth issues with centerback but this could also point to them looking to fill it in the offseason. Plus, Anibaba was making too much money ($150k) to never play. The offers to the out-of-contract players will be the biggest indicators as to what Sporting KC's strategies are going into the rest of the offseason. If they don't get Soni Mustivar back, then defensive midfielder jumps to the top of the list. If they don't get Paulo Nagamura or Mikey Lopez back, then midfield depth becomes an issue. Seth Sinovic could force Sporting KC's hand at left back and Jon Kempin could make the keeper situation beyond 2016 very interesting.
Below is the updated roster for players under contract for the 2016 season. There are currently 20 players with eight open spots for Sporting KC to fill before the start of the season.
|Marcel de Jong||Defender|
|Open Roster Spot||#1|
|Open Roster Spot||#2|
|Open Roster Spot||#3|
|Open Roster Spot||#4|
|Open Roster Spot||#5|
|Open Roster Spot||#6|
|Open Roster Spot||#7|
|Open Roster Spot||#8|