With news breaking today that Emmanuel Frimpong is on trial with Sporting KC, it reminded me that there were a flurry of move quickly after the MLS Summer Transfer Window opened that didn't get as much attention as they probably deserved. Sure we covered that the moves were made, but who are these guys? I'll take the time to break down each player and their possible contributions to the club.
Ever Alvarado - Left Back
Alvarado was the first of the three signings to occur. It didn't technically happen until the transfer window opened, but it was rumored all the way back on June 20th. Alvarado has yet to make an appearance for Sporting KC, which is typical of summer transfers under Peter Vermes. He likes the players to get Sporting Fit. On top of that this team is absolutely loaded at left back. Jimmy Medranda has taken over the role, but Seth Sinovic and the recently departed Amadou Dia both have put in good minutes there this season.
Alvarado instead has been on loan with Sporting's USL team, the Swope Park Rangers. He took over the left back job for the team just before it was announced that Amadou Dia had been traded. Since arriving at SPR he has made three appearances (all starts) for 248 minutes. SPR are 1-1-1 since that time, but as is often the case, there aren't a lot of stats that show up for a left back on the box score.
Noteably he has five fouls and two yellow cards to his name already. That feels about right for the aggressive play he has brought from his native Honduras. He is a teammate of Roger Espinoza on the Honduras National Team and a player that Peter Vermes was quoted as saying they had been pursing for some time. Sporting often like to wait until they can get a player on a free transfer and that is exactly what they did here.
That could be the reason that this move makes less sense than I thought at the initial signing. Jimmy Medranda has really flourished as a left back, even showing great improvement in his defense. I previously thought that Alvarado may take over at left back and allow Medranda to move up to the wing. With Jimmy playing such defense, that seems less and less likely. It seems more likely that Alvarado will be good additional depth and this could lead to the departure of Seth Sinovic, who is a big fan favorite and local boy. Sinovic is paid too much to be a backup (based on MLS wages), but that seems like the role he will be taking.
What this move really did was open the door for Amadou Dia to be traded which brings me to...
Cameron Porter - Forward
Porter joins SKC from the Montreal Impact in a rare player for player trade. Amadou Dia was sent the other way as part of the deal and I know some fans are still sad. Dia was popular and he produced quite well in his rookie season in 2015. Dia also was the 20th overall pick of that SuperDraft while Porter was the 45th overall pick. Giving up a first round pick for a third round pick seems foolish on the face of it. That said, Dia had been on loan with the Swope Park Rangers since the emergence of Medranda at LB and the signing of Alvarado meant there were too many left backs on the roster. Someone had to go and unfortunately for Dia, it was him (my wife is especially sad about this).
So what did Sporting get in return? It is hard to know. Porter played only five games for Montreal in 2015. He did have a very critical goal to help send the Impact through to the CONCACAF Champions League final, which Cody detailed in the initial story of the trade. Shortly after that Porter tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the 2015 season. In 2016 he hasn't appeared for the senior team but was instead loaned to FC Montreal, the Impact's USL team (kudos for not just calling them Montreal Impact 2).
In the time that Porter was in the USL this season he has nothing to show for it. He only played in four games for a combined 284 minutes and registered just a single shot. I won't heap all that blame onto him as Montreal are terrible. They are currently the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Porter actually already had more minutes with SKC than he did with Montreal this season. He came off the bench on Sunday against Seattle to play on the wing for 13 minutes. If he is a true winger, that is a welcome sign as injuries to Justin Mapp, Graham Zusi and Brad Davis have left SKC hurting for wing players. No offense to Jacob Peterson and Connor Hallisey, but they aren't who I want starting out wide (side note: Hallisey was the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, 35 spots ahead of Porter).
Overall I don't expect much from Porter. It's a low risk, high reward kind of deal. If he pans out, we gave up a player that likely wasn't getting onto the field anymore anyways. If he doesn't, he gets cut and he doesn't cost much. Porter's 2016 guaranteed compensation was just $69,750 which isn't much more than Dia's $51,000. If Porter can show any of the ability that helped him score 31 goals and add 13 assists at Princeton University, then that will be a trade well worth making.
Emmanuel Appiah - Midfielder
The last new acquisition (so far) of this summer transfer window is Emmanuel Appiah. Despite how little we know about the other two new players, we probably know less about Appiah. He was the 15th overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids. His signing would make him the first round pick that Sporting never had. They traded away their pick to D.C. United for a measly $125,000 in targeted allocation money which I assume sits locked away rotting since there is a third open Designated Player spot just rotting away (Diego Rubio was recently moved off his DP contract when his loan was extended).
Appiah never appeared for the Rapids and was actually loaned to the Charlotte Independence in USL. He made only two appearances for a measly 24 minutes before being released. He has already been loaned to (and since recalled from) the Swope Park Rangers and actually made a start and played 64 minutes. Oddly he was started at the number 10 role which doesn't seem like a natural fit and he honestly didn't look very good, but it was his first game.
In college, he apparently played attacking midfielder but he only tallied seven goals and 13 assists over five seasons (he missed most of 2013 with an injury). At the college level, if he has the appropriate talent, one would expect far more from that role. If Benny Feilhaber put up those numbers in a single season we'd be fine with that. But over four plus seasons, that's not enough.
Prospect XI believes he fits more as a defensive midfielder at the pro game and apparently has a pretty good free kick in his arsenal. My guess is he was signed for depth since Sporting KC basically has no one healthy beyond their starting three midfielders with lots of games coming up in August. If Appiah turns out to be better than that then we'll all be pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't get your hopes up, but Vermes does have a way to develop players and with SPR available, players can stick around longer than they otherwise may have with 30 more roster spots available on the B team.
Across the board Alvardo seems the only player worth getting even the least bit excited about while the other two will be a bonus if they work out. It's highly possible the last two are gone in the offseason. I'll leave you with the vitals of all three players courtesy of SportingKC.com.
Weight: 154 lbs.
Last Club: C.D. Olimpia (Honduras)
Hometown: El Negrito, Honduras
Birthplace: El Negrito, Honduras
Weight: 175 lbs.
College: Princeton University
Hometown: Centerville, Ohio
Birthplace: Centerville, Ohio
Weight: 160 lbs.
College: University of Cincinnati
Hometown: Westerville, Ohio
Birthplace: Sampa, Ghana