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Sporting KC about to add more players before the roster freeze?

Maybe... Maybe not... But it it looking likely that some players will be getting a promotion to the first team

Kevin Olivera
Thad Bell

It looks like Sporting Kansas City may add a player or two (or three maybe) in the next couple days. With the MLS roster freeze approaching, Sporting Kansas City and other teams only have a couple days to add to their roster for the rest of the year.

The secondary transfer window closed on August 9th. That was one of two periods that teams can register new players acquired through international transfers or trades within the league but teams could still add out of contract players.

Sporting KC tried to add Kevin Parsemain, an out of contract player that was a Gold Cup star for Martinique. FIFA and French Football Federation rules prevented Parsemain from coming to Kansas City.

There are two more categories (and maybe more) of player that can still be added to the roster up until the freeze; Homegrown players and players from the Swope Park Rangers, Sporting KC’s USL affiliate.

Both scenarios have already happened since the transfer window closed on August 9th. James Musa was signed from Swope Park on August 11th and 15-year-old Gianluca Busio was signed as a Homegrown player on August 25th.

A combination of intuition, speculation and a little reading between the lines make it seem likely that Sporting KC will add up to three players in the near future.

The most likely candidates:

Jaylin Lindsey (17) defender – Lindsey is currently with the U-17 national team camp in preparation for the U-17 World Cup in October. Lindsey has been one of the best players on the U-17’s and was a Best XI selection in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

Lindsey was part of the last class at the U.S. Residency program before it closed after the spring semester. Last year he spent some time with the Swope Park Rangers and became the first American player born in the year 2000 and beyond to appear in a competitive professional match.

He can play center back or right back. If signed, he would be a Homegrown player.

Max Rugova (17) forward – Rugova has scored well for Sporting KC’s Academy and has made a couple appearances with the Swope Park Rangers this year. He has recently represented Kosovo at the U-17 level but has also been in the U.S. youth system.

Rugova can play wing, center forward and attacking mid but would probably be best up top. A bit like Daniel Salloi but perhaps a little stronger at this point than he was at that age.

Would be a Homegrown player.

Felipe Hernandez (19) midfielder – Hernandez signed with Swope Park as an Academy player last season and as a professional this year instead of heading to college. He has performed well in his first professional season, making 17 appearances with 12 starts and has a goal and an assist so far. When asked before the season what player he compared himself to, he replied “Benny Feilhaber.” Hernandez has played as an attacking mid for the Rangers so far. As a former Academy player he would still be eligible to sign as a Homegrown player for Sporting KC.

Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (18) midfielder – Kuzain (the Malaysian Messi) also came from the Academy and signed with the Swope Park Rangers as a professional this year instead of heading to college. Kuzain plays as a defensive mid for Swope Park but has played other spots while in the Academy.

Kuzain has 6 starts in his 9 appearances and has a 90.3% passing success rate for the Rangers.

As a former Academy player he would still be eligible to sign as a Homegrown player for Sporting KC.

Kevin Oliveira (21) midfielder – Oliveira is a native of Cape Verde and has been called into their national team. He was on the Benifica B team when he was lured to Kansas City in 2016 and signed with Swope Park but it was hinted that he might be brought up to the first team last year but blew out his knee in mid-season.

Oliviera is listed as a midfielder but can likely play any attacking position well. He has played both attacking mid and the box-to-box role as well as winger and forward for Swope Park. He has 3 goals and 5 assists in 15 games (12 starts) this season. He missed the beginning of the year recovering from the knee injury.

Kharlton Belmar (24) forward – Belmar was the USL rookie of the year in 2015 for the Portland Timbers 2 with 12 goals and 3 assists but had a drop off in 2016. Sporting KC snatched him up when he was available and signed him to Swope Park for 2017.

He leads the Rangers with 10 goals and lone assist. His goals this year have all came from inside the box with two of them headers.

Belmar can play wing of center forward in Sporting KC’s system.

Nansel Selbol blowing past former SKC defender Amadou Dia
Thad Bell

Nansel Selbol (20) forward – Selbol signed out of the Academy with Swope Park last season and notched a goal and assist but has really blossomed this year. In his second professional year he has 5 goals and 2 assists so far and has fit the system well. Selbol recently earned his third consecutive goal of the month award.

With Swope Park following the Sporting KC model this year and Selbol maturing a bit, he has become a very dangerous attacker for the Rangers. As a former Academy player he should still be eligible to sign as a Homegrown player for Sporting KC.

Who will Sporting KC sign?

Good question and tough to know for sure but if I had to name the three most likely candidates at this time it would be:

Kevin Oliveira – the very talented mid can play a lot of spots and his quickness, ball handling and creativity could certainly be used by the first team. Oliveira would take an international slot but remarkably, one of those just officially opened up.

Jaylin Lindsey – probably the best overall player left in Sporting KC’s Academy now that Busio has signed. At least the most recognized with his national team duty. His U-17 camp wraps up on the 14th which would make perfect timing to announce him on the 15th as the freeze goes into effect.

Kharlton Belmar – in a lot of ways he is the most ready to play at MLS level right now. Size, strength, speed and a nose for the goal are all qualities SKC can use. He has spent this season learning the SKC model of play and could plug in right away if needed.

Why not the others?

All of them are good players and of the others, only Rugova is not under contract at the moment. There is time to sign him later if he continues to play well.

The three former SKC Academy players, (Hernandez, Kuzain and Selbol) are all playing well and developing and need more time at the USL level to see if they continue to improve.

So, Done Deal?

No. Of course not. Well at least as far as we know.

SKC manager Peter Vermes could sign all three or none of them at this time or someone not even mentioned. But if I had to bet, I think these three have a good chance.

Thoughts on which player(s) should be added to the first team?