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Sporting KC makes season end roster moves

With the disappointing loss at home to end their season, SKC was forced to make roster moves the next day.

Belmar with the Swope Park Rangers
Thad Bell

One of the side effects of making a deep MLS Cup run is that as soon as the season is over, teams must announce roster moves the day after elimination. With the disappointing loss Thursday night, Sporting Kansas City announced their moves Friday.

On the positive side, Sporting KC exercised contract options for four players ahead of the 2019 MLS season: forward Diego Rubio, defender Graham Smith and goalkeepers Eric Dick and Adrian Zendejas. Sporting KC has also extended a bona fide offer to forward Khiry Shelton, who is out of contract at the end of the year. He was the only player out of contract with the announcement this week that Seth Sinovic had re-signed for 2019.

On the less happy side, Sporting KC has declined contract options for forward Kharlton Belmar, midfielder Cristian Lobato and defenders Amer Didic, Brad Evans and Colton Storm. Belmar, Lobato, Didic and Storm are eligible for the Waiver Draft. Evans is eligible for free agency, beginning Dec. 11, and for the Re-Entry Draft.

Sporting KC now has 23 players under contract for the 2019 campaign: the four players whose contract options were exercised as well as players already under contract for 2019: Matt Besler, Gianluca Busio, Yohan Croizet, Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Andreu Fontas, Tyler Freeman, Felipe Gutierrez, Jaylin Lindsey, Jimmy Medranda, Tim Melia, Krisztian Nemeth, Ike Opara, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Ilie Sanchez, Seth Sinovic, Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal and Graham Zusi.

No Big Surprises

In all of these moves today, none are exactly shocking. Of the players that had options declined, Brad Evans was never a long term signing and was only meant to be depth and experience on an already deep team. While he made the bench a few times and did appear for the Swope Park Rangers a few times in rehab, Evans was never healthy enough for long enough to truly compete for time.

Belmar and Didic were both players that impressed enough with the Swope Park Rangers but could not crack through to regular time with the senior team. Belmar was an explosive, strong winger in the USL before coming to the Rangers and earned a contract with SKC at the end of last year. Didic was a great success story, coming through tryout camps from a small local college and helped lead the Rangers to three successful seasons.

Storm came through the 2017 draft as Sporting’s first round pick and was a regular with Swope Park but with Graham Zusi and SKC Academy product Jaylin Lindsey ahead of him at right back his future was probably limited with SKC.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Lobato, the Spanish winger/defender/midfielder struggled to lockdown consistent playing time with SKC. Lobato showed some of his Barcelona pedigree in different spots but it was in his last match before injury that he really stood out earning high praise from manager Peter Vermes. With Yohan Croizet and Jimmy Medranda both able to play the utility starter and sub, it made Lobato expendable.

The Swope Park Rangers announced their moves on Friday as well.

SKC Roster - 11/30/2018

Name Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Name Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Matt Besler CB 1/15/2009 2020 None
Graham Zusi RB 1/15/2009 2021 None
Seth Sinovic LB 11/28/2011 2019 2020
Ike Opara CB 12/12/2012 2020 2021
Jimmy Medranda LB 8/9/2013 2019 2020
Tim Melia GK 12/23/2014 2021 2022
Roger Espinoza CM DP 1/6/2015 2020 None
Daniel Salloi LW INT-HG 1/13/2016 2020 2021
Diego Rubio CF 3/8/2016 2019 None
Adrian Zendejas GK 12/2/2016 2019 2020
Gerso Fernandes RW 1/4/2017 2019 2020
Ilie Sanchez CDM 1/13/2017 2021 2022
Gianluca Busio CAM HG 8/25/2017 2020 2021, 2022
Khiry Shelton CF 12/14/2017 2018* None
Yohan Croizet MID/FWD INT-DP 12/15/2017 2020 2021
Jaylin Lindsey RB HG 1/1/2018 2021 2022
Johnny Russell LW INT 1/31/2018 2020 2021
Felipe Gutierrez CM INT-DP 2/6/2018 2020 2021
Eric Dick GK 2/15/2018 2019 2020, 2021
Graham Smith CB 2/15/2018 2019 2020, 2021
Kuzain CDM HG 4/13/2018 2020 2021, 2022
Krisztian Nemeth FWD INT 8/6/2018 2019 2020
Andreu Fontas CB INT 8/8/2018 2022 None
Tyler Freeman FWD HG 1/1/2019 2022 2023