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Sporting KC traded a pick to Portland?

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SKC may have acquired the rights to forward Christian Volesky

MLS: Preseason-San Jose Earthquakes vs Portland Timbers
Christian Volesky controls the ball under pressure from San Jose Earthquakes defender Marvell Wynne
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City may be about to add a forward from the Rochester Rhinos.

While still unconfirmed, it is looking increasingly likely that Sporting Kansas City has traded for the rights to a player from the Portland Timbers.

We do know that Sporting KC has traded their fourth round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft to Portland. The trade shows up in the MLS draft tracker as taking place on 12/31/16.

Sporting KC did confirm that the trade took place and that something would be announced in the near future, probably early next week.

The date of the trade is significant and gives a clue as to what Portland could be giving up. Obviously it is the last day of the year and team officials on both sides would probably rather be home with their families celebrating so why consummate a trade on that day?

Besides being New Year’s Eve, 12/31/16 is the last day of the year and is the last day teams have the rights to players they drafted in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

One of our counterparts at Stumptown Footy did some quick digging and supplied the name Christian Volesky as the likely candidate.

While we trust our counterparts in Portland, a little looking makes it likely that Chis is correct and Sporting KC has acquired the rights to Volesky. They also would probably not acquire his rights unless they were sure they could sign him.

Just to be sure, or more sure, these are the players that Portland drafted in 2015:

Nick Besler - Matt’s brother was signed and waived after 2016 and has since signed with Real Monarchs. SKC would not have needed to acquire his rights but he is unavailable anyway.

Andy Thoma – Was also signed and released after the 2016 season. He has not signed anywhere yet officially but because his contract option was declined he can sign anywhere and Sporting KC would not have needed to trade anything for his rights.

Christian Volesky – Never signed with Portland. He was dropped from the Timbers training camp but Portland would have still owned his rights up through the end of 2015. Ended up playing for Rochester Rhinos scoring eight goals in 2015 and ten in 2016.

Kharlton Belmar – Was also cut from camp but signed with Timbers 2 in USL. He has now signed with Swope Park Rangers. Portland would have still owned his rights if they wanted to sign him for MLS but SKC was able to lock him up at the USL level.

Anthony Manning – Was eventually signed by Portland but was waived back in August. SKC would not need to acquire his rights to negotiate.

Seth Casiple- Was also cut from camp and then signed with Timbers 2, SKC would have needed to acquire his rights before 12/31/16 if they wanted to sign him.

Only two of them would have required SKC to trade for his rights in 2016 and the most successful of these players has easily been Christian Volesky. He scored 18 regular season goals for the Rhino’s over two seasons and Sporting KC could always use another forward with a scoring touch.

Could the trade be for something else? Yes. It could be for small amounts of money or the trading up in an allocation order but the timing makes it likely it was for a player.

Could it be for the rights to another player? Yes. Sporting KC could have been wanting a player that Portland drafted in 2016 and would have the rights through the end of 2017 but they could have easily completed that trade after New Year’s Day.