If you decided to stop paying attention to the offseason of Sporting Kansas City because of the crushing sadness you experienced when Sporting KC were bounced from the playoffs, it’s already time to pay attention again. Let’s get you caught up.
Early in the playoffs, rumors started to swirl that Salloi was interested in a move to England. There was some talk that it was just to get him a well deserved raise (he only made $81,625 despite being the Golden Boot Winner). I imagine that raise is coming, but Salloi himself confirmed to our own Bob Rusert that he plans to stick around. Salloi stated, “I’m happy here. I’m looking to stay here.” Salloi is under contract through 2020 with an option for 2021.
The surprise of the offseason so far is that after Shelton, who’s contract expired at the end of the season, was offered a new deal, but he instead declined it to head abroad. It’s unknown where he will land, but apparently he has some sort of offer on the table “in the short term.” Once it’s determined where he ends up we’ll report that here at The Blue Testament. The Talkin’ Touches guys, after patting themselves on the back for their Shelton love, hypothesized it’s because signing again with SKC would severely limit his ability to move around. While that’s basically true in MLS where Sporting still hold his rights, he’s young enough to still head overseas now or a year from now. It’ll be interesting to see if he finds success as — outside of the playoffs — he actually did look to have improved over the year with Sporting.
Before the final game of the season, Seth Sinovic actually signed a new deal with Sporting KC. He’ll be with the team through 2019, which locked up all their starters for another year (unless you consider Shelton a starter).
Rubio’s Option, Along with Three Others Picked Up
Diego Rubio, who scored at a crazy clip in 2018, had his contract option for 2019 picked up. That’s no guarantee he’ll be around next season but Sporting own his rights and he deserves to be given a chance to start and get more minutes. In addition to Rubio, Sporting brought back rookies Graham Smith and Eric Dick as well as backup goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas. Rubio will be out of contract at the end of next year but the others have options through 2020 (Zendejas) or 2021 (Dick, Smith).
Five Players, Including Kharlton Belmar, Have Options Declined
In the same announcement that brought back the above players, Sporting Kansas City announced five players wouldn’t be back in 2019. Those players were Kharlton Belmar, Colton Storm, Amer Didic, Brad Evans and maybe most surprisingly, Cristian Lobato. Belmar didn’t get much of a chance to make an impact, though he did score in the US Open Cup game against Real Salt Lake this season. Didic and Storm never even made a regular season appearance. Evans, a long-time MLS veteran, never made it on the field for SKC.
Lobato was the most successful of all the above players but with a $240,000 salary, his lack of production and injury woes likely cost him a spot. With his ability to play on all three lines and having just had the best game of his SKC career (one goal and one assist) in his final Sporting appearance, it would have been interesting to see if he continued to progress in 2019.
Going back to surprises, when this bomb dropped yesterday, it came out of nowhere. It’s likely just a ploy to get a raise. Opara got a raise after winning MLS Defender of the Year but it pales in comparison to what Besler and Fontas are making. More on this will likely come as the offseason wears on.
So far, there has just been one rumor with any teeth and that one is shaky at best. Celtic midfielder and Captain, Scott Brown, was rumored to be heading to the United States to join SKC (unlikely) or Minnesota United (more likely at least). More rumors could drop at any time, but with the European window opening in January in most leagues it should heat up soon.
FC Cincinnati Expansion Draft
The 2018 MLS Expansion Draft will start on Tuesday, December 11th. That will have no impact on Sporting KC. They didn’t make a trade during the half-day trade window because they didn’t need to. The reason is because Sporting KC are exempt from having a player selected this year. Get the reason for that and the complete history of SKC in expansion drafts here.
More to Catch Up On
First, we reviewed the entire roster from 2018. That should keep you busy for a moment.
Other news to get caught up on includes that Sporting KC will face Deportivo Toluca in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Swope Park Rangers’ roster moves, a MLS transaction round-up and the rumored early start to preseason and the regular season. For all offseason news, head to our 2018-19 SKC Offseason page or if you just love rumors, transactions and trades, there is a page for that too.