This week we have been previewing each area of the field for Sporting Kansas City ahead of Saturday’s kickoff with D.C. United. The Blue Testament staff deliberated and each put in predictions on Peter Vermes’ Starting XI.
Today we wrap up the series by taking a look at the new and improved SKC attacking front.
No surprise here. Dom is our man. He took care of a nagging injury with an off season surgery and he’s primed for a prosperous year with more support in the attack. Often on an island last year, the
USMNT striker Englishman will benefit from an influx of youth and pace on the wings. He is chasing Preki to become the club’s all time scoring leader in MLS this season. If Dom scores the 20 goals needed to break the record, you can bet Sporting KC will be right there at the top of the league.
“Gershow” is Vermes’ most expensive new toy and he comes to us via Portugal. He looks set to be the starter on the right wing as a lefty who likes to cut inside. Fernandes has pace for days and he will provide some creativity on the outside. Historically he hasn’t been a big goal scorer, but look for him to rack up some assists as Dwyer eats up passes into the box. Vermes has seemed to downplay his label of DP as a matter of circumstances, but hopes are still very high for the 26 year old.
When the signing of Blessing was announced, I wasn’t sure how he would fit in right away. He was MVP of Ghana’s first division and led the league with 17 goals as a teenager, but MLS is quite a big step up. The guy looks like a kid on the field, truly. He is 20 years old now and standing at 5’ 7”. But it wasn’t long after his arrival that it became clear Vermes wanted him as the man on the wing. He’s shown he can take a beating (he will) and use his size to his advantage to turn in tight spaces. AND THAT SPEED - so much speed. At times it looks like someone hit the fast-forward button. He’s going to be fun to watch.
In the preseason it looked like Vermes was giving Soony every chance in the world to establish himself as the backup to Dwyer. I am a fan of Soony and think he can be that guy - but he did not have a good preseason. He seemed to struggle a bit with the physicality of defenders, which is probably to be expected after returning from Thailand. He even got a red card for a horrible, head scratching tackle. But he can get a pass as he tried to get situated again and I still like Soony to contribute this year.
The 20 year old Hungarian is definitely one to keep an eye on this year. He would probably prefer to play in the middle of the field, but if he wants to see time in MLS this year it is mostly going to be on the wing. He is more than capable of doing damage out there, however. He can beat defenders in 1v1 situations and if he is given half a chance to score, he will.
Porter did well with the time he saw in Tuscon and I think we can expect to see a pretty good amount of the 23 year old this year. He isn’t a newbie anymore. He has had a lot of time learning what Vermes needs from him and how to be successful in his system. Porter showed some promise in his short time last year so I am interested to see his development.
SKC signed Iwasa in January after two seasons with Sacramento Republic FC. We didn’t get a chance to see a whole lot from him in preseason games, but he gained a pretty good goal scoring reputation in the USL. Peter Vermes undoubtedly saw something from both Iwasa and Porter that he liked - and that is why Volesky was released from the attacking core. If somebody is getting sent to the Swope Park Rangers, I am guessing it’ll be Iwasa.
Then there’s the injured Rubio. The Chilean had knee surgery last October and is set to be out for most of this season. He wasn’t given too much time on the field last season, but I do like his potential. Don’t forget about him, SKC fans.
I will never - I say NEVER - give up the idea of Medranda on the wing. That is where I want him and I don’t listen to anyone telling me otherwise. He deserved praise for his efforts in defense last year and he did very well as a #10 behind Benny in preseason. But his insane talent, creativity and speed could do wonders for the KC attack. I bet we see him all over the field this year, including up front.
He’s found his main position in this lineup as right back, but at some point in the twists and turns of an MLS season we’ll probably see him on the wing.
Peter Vermes is in a MUCH better position this year when it comes to his attacking options. This burst of pace, youth and creativity has The Blue Testament staff pretty excited.
Is it Saturday yet?