One of the biggest benefits of Sporting Kansas City having a USL team is the ability to loan players from the senior team down to the Swope Park Rangers. On Friday Sporting KC announced five new loans.
Who Got Loaned Out?
For Saturday’s 2017 USL season opener the Swope Park Rangers will be joined by Adrian Zendejas, Colton Storm, Latif Blessing, Kevin Ellis and Daniel Salloi.
Zendejas comes as no surprise since he got his start in the SKC system by joining SPR last season. He captured the starting goalkeeper job and never let it go (other than ceding the spot to a rehabbing Tim Melia). He actually never lost a start until the USL Cup Final against RBNY II. I fully expect Zendejas will be with SPR all year barring injuries to either of SKC’s goalkeepers forcing him to come back to the senior team (or possibly to cover a US Open Cup game).
Another non-surprise is Colton Storm. Storm was Sporting KC’s 2017 1st Round MLS SuperDraft pick out of the University of North Carolina. Despite Storm becoming fast friends with Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad, there is no room for him on SKC. He plays right back (though Peter Vermes insists he can play on the left too) and that spot is pretty crowed between Graham Zusi, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Igor Juliao.
Possibly more surprising loans are for the last three of the group: Blessing, Salloi and Ellis. Salloi and Ellis shouldn’t be surprises as they spent time with SPR last season. Those two, along with Blessing, are likely just on loan for this weekend’s game while Sporting KC have the weekend off. SKC return to action next Friday against Toronto FC and Blessing, Salloi and Ellis will likely return to the 18.
If anyone stays with the Rangers I could see it being Kevin Ellis if Erik Palmer-Brown is ready to be the third center back on the roster (though Besler may not be ready to return by Friday — especially since John Anthony Brooks went down injured last night). If Besler isn’t ready, Ellis definitely will get recalled as well.
If anyone was surprised to see Blessing get loaned out (which as we look deeper, we shouldn’t be since he only has a single appearance for 23 minutes through three games), then there are other players who it may be surprising weren’t loaned out.
The first of those players is Cameron Iwasa. Iwasa was a star for the Sacramento Republic last season in the USL. He put home a club record 12 goals but hasn’t sniffed the field for SKC since very early in the preseason. He’s been dealing with a hamstring strain which is the type of injury that can easily be aggravated. That seems a likely excuse for why he is still with SKC instead of SPR on loan.
Another puzzler is Tyler Pasher. Pasher played for SPR last year and played so well he earned a senior team contract (along with Zendejas). He has the ability to play left back or on the wing but hasn’t gotten into an actual game yet either. With SKC having the weekend off, why not loan him to SPR to get him some game time? A member of The Blue Testament community hypothesized that maybe he had picked up a knock and Vermes didn’t want to risk him this weekend. That seems very logical to me and until I hear otherwise I’m thinking that’s the case.
Who Else Should Get Loaned Out?
The first and most obvious answer is anyone either not getting minutes with Sporting KC or players recovering from injuries. I’d say Blessing, Ellis and Salloi fall into that category of guys currently not getting enough minutes that Vermes wasn’t to keep sharp. Last season, before each US Open Cup game Vermes loaned down nearly every player that was going to play to sharpen them up. It didn’t work well, but I imagine he’ll keep doing it.
On the injury front, players like Saad Abdul-Salaam (sooner) and Diego Rubio (much later) will likely spend time rehabbing their injuries in the USL. Obviously we don’t know who else will pick up injuries, but expect them to rehab in USL.
Two other players I believe will likely get loaned out at some point will be Cameron Porter and Igor Juliao. Igor will need to stay with SKC as the backup option at fullback/late game energy boost when the club is trailing until SAS is 100%.
As for Porter, it’s really hard to see him getting minutes with so many more dynamic options ahead of him on the wing (just a year ago it would have been crazy to say Sporting have dynamic options on the wing). If Porter doesn’t get loaned out it’ll be a long lonely season for him. He may be Dom’s backup in US Open games, but Soony appeared there for most of the preseason.
Who do you think should get loaned out? Let us know in the comments.