Sporting Kansas City’s roster seems pretty set for this 2017 season. With how the current roster is set up Sporting only has one roster spot open, and no international slots. I presume they would like to keep at least one spot on the roster open to possibly move a Swope Park Rangers player up later in the season given a string of good form (Amer Didic or Kevin Oliveira seem likely candidates). This presumably means that if anything was to change on the team it would have to come by form of a trade. With this in mind who is Sporting KC’s most valuable trade pieces and why?
This will likely not be something most fans want to hear but Ike is a very possible trade piece. When Ike has been on the field he’s a dominant force. Ike is a incredible combination of speed, strength, and the ability to leap over defenders, but only when healthy. In seven seasons in MLS Ike has only had two seasons where he’s started 15 or more regular season games. When Ike goes to ground we all gasp in fear of yet another season ending injury. Erik Palmer-Brown is back from his loan spell with FC Porto and is wanting playing time. My fear is that if EPB doesn’t get the playing time that he is looking for then he’ll look for a move somewhere else (Extremely unlikely that a player that has played for Porto’s B team would accept a loan down to SPR). While a gradual integration of EPB into the first team would be more preferable, if the right trade offer comes across Peter Vermes’s desk I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ike move on and EPB be thrust into the starting role.
This is going to be another that isn’t a crowd pleaser. Mustivar has become a fan favorite in his two seasons with Sporting KC and with good reason. Mustivar defensive ability and work rate are exceptional. His ability to get the ball quickly off his foot is second to none. With the emergence of Ilie Sanchez, could even say the most important one this offseason, Mustivar is now a bit expendable. Well I’m not completely sold on the idea because for once in a long time SKC finally has some depth in the midfield. Ilie Sanchez has been exceptional in the first two preseason games, displaying the vision and technical ability that we all have come to expect from a FC Barcelona academy product, all the while breaking up possessions of apposing midfields. With the combination of Ilie Sanchez’s arrival and every MLS team’s need for a good defensive mid I wouldn’t be surprised if yet again the right offer comes across Vermes’s desk and he Mustivar is moved on.
If you want to talk about a player that has been so intricate for Sporting’s growth in a constant trophy contender Sinovic has to be in the conversation. Sinovic is one of four players to appear in the U.S. Open Cup finals in 2012 and 2015, as well as the MLS Cup final in 2013. It is without question that Sinovic has been a player that Sporting has leaned on for several years now, but just like defensive mids, consistent left backs are a hot commodity. Seth Sinovic isn’t going to bomb forward and light up the wing with his overlapping runs and dazzling skill. What he does give you is a left back that his mentality is defend first and get forward when you can, a mindset that some young guys get flip-flopped. While Vermes appears to be planning on using Sinovic as a starter for this season to allow Medranda to be the ultimate utility player (also keep in mind that Tyler Pasher has shown well in his new left back role this preseason), but with serviceable and younger back-ups Sinovic is expendable as well.
Guys like Cameron Porter and Saad Abdul-Salaam also belong on this list. Porter couldn’t find consistent time for a SKC team that struggled on the wings last year. With acquisitions like Latif Blessing and Gerso Fernandes does Porter really have a role on this team? Sporting secured the loan of Igor Juliao for this season and the Graham Zusi experiment appearing to still be in full effect during preseason Saad Abdul-Salaam could be seen as expendable as well (thought Abdul-Salaam showed a lot of growth in his game last season and would hate to see him moved on).
Judging from preseason most would say that this team is improved form last season, but there are a few spots that could use some help. Peter Vermes has demonstrated before that he isn’t afraid to cut bait with someone that has won fans hearts over like Jordi Quintilla, or trade pieces that at one point had shown incredible promise, Amadou Dia. So it’s probably safe to say this Sporting KC team will not end the season with the same players it begins with.