The streak continues. For at least the seventh consecutive year, Sporting Kansas City have cut a player from their roster before July 1st, the semi-guarantee date. As predicted, that player was 2018 Sporting KC Homegrown signing, Matt Lewis.
Matt Lewis was the only Sporting KC player to not even make it into the 18 for at least one regular season or US Open Cup game this season. Instead he has spent the season with the Swope Park Rangers. Possibly for that reason he has signed a new contract with SPR so he will remain in Kansas City.
Lewis is definitely in need of more playing time to prove he belongs. He has just four appearances (two starts) with the Rangers this season. He’s simply buried on the depth chart. When he was signed we openly questioned where he could fit with all the center backs on the roster. As it stood before his release, he was probably seventh on the depth chart behind Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Emiliano Amor, Amer Didic, Graham Smith and Brad Evans.
It’s likely Lewis wasn’t counting towards Sporting’s MLS roster cap of 30 as he had been on loan all season, but by releasing him now Sporting free up what is likely a Reserve Roster spot. Why the Reserve portion of the roster is important is because that’s where the least expensive players on the roster live and it could allow another Ranger to sign a first team contract like Kharlton Belmar, Kevin Oliveira, Amer Didic, Jaylin Lindsey, James Musa and Kuzain all have in the last 18 months.
Candidates to come up from the Rangers may be more limited in 2018 due to a majority of their top performers being SKC players on loan. There is an age restriction of 24-years-old for the Reserve Roster so that eliminates a player like Hadji Barry. The most likely candidate to move up is midfielder Felipe Hernandez (20). The only other player who has a very outside chance is probably Matheus Silva, who has shown great improvement over the season — though I think that’d be premature. Everyone else is either too old or too green.
There is something to be said for not coming to the first team too earlier. The aforementioned Oliveira and Musa were released at the end of the 2017 season after just joining Sporting late in the season. If they were still on SPR bossing USL players, they may have made the necessary improvements to have a chance at a more secure spot with the first team.
All this said, it’s not yet July 1st, so there is no saying another player won’t be cut, but it seems unlikely.