The 2019 MLS season is one Sporting Kansas City fans will be looking to forget. But with a very long offseason ahead that may not have soccer until March (assuming no MLSPA strike), we feel compelled to look back at the good and the bad from 2019. For the full list of players reviewed, head to our dedicated Year in Review page.
The Blue Testament continues our look back at 2019 with a player that emerged as important, but likely not of the caliber to be an every day starter — Erik Hurtado.
Games Played (Started): 13 (8)
Minutes Played: 815
Games Suspended: None
xG (expected goals): 2.03
Positions Played: CF
2019 Salary: $181,249.96
Contract Through (Option Years): 2019 (2020)
*All stats from 2019 MLS regular season unless otherwise noted.
Best Moment of 2019
With limited chances to make an impact I’ll go with his 88th minute goal against Minnesota United on August 22nd. Sporting Kansas City had thoroughly controlled that game but they couldn’t score until a beautiful through ball from Johnny Russell allowed Hurtado to take a good touch and drive it home for the win. It was the middle game of a three game win streak and one SKC absolutely needed to stay alive for the playoffs.
Worst Moment of 2019
Hurtado had a rough year mostly because he picked up an injury during CONCACAF Champions League against Independiente in Panama. That, coupled with a surgery on his hand/wrist led him to miss most of the season. How right does our own Robert Rusert’s take about SKC not going deep in CCL look in retrospective? Though to be fair, Rusert did want them to play four games and this was the 3rd CCL game.
Once Hurtado returned from injury on July 26th as a sub against New York City FC (he technically played a Swope Park Rangers game before that), he would go on to play in all the remaining Sporting KC MLS games. So all 13 appearances were consecutive for Hurtado. He’ll turn 29 in November and likely will be asked to be the secondary striker in 2020 assuming SKC finds a new player this offseason.
Fan Vote: Keep, Banish or Wait
Hurtado was the first player highlighted in this series who the fans didn’t feel strongly one way or the other (that’ll be a trend that repeats over and over in the coming days YIR pieces). In my mind, it’s a simple decision to pick up his 2020 option. He’s probably not starter quality, but his wages and MLS experience (and experience in SKC’s system) makes him a solid backup to have around.