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 who had a controversial 2019 — Graham Zusi.
Games Played (Started): 27 (26)
Minutes Played: 2,351
Games Suspended: None
xG (expected goals): 1.33
Positions Played: Right back
2019 Salary: $688,333.41
Contract Through (Option Years): 2021 (None)
*All stats from 2019 MLS regular season unless otherwise noted.
Best Moment of 2019
Being named a MLS All-Star. Not because he deserved it with his play (obviously he didn’t) but because of the way Sporting KC told him. Who is cutting onions in here?
It’s a good lifetime achievement award for Zusi but it’s more proof fans shouldn’t get to vote for these things because they don’t pay attention.
A second best moment? How about having a top selling jersey for six straight seasons. Let’s hope Zusi gets a cut of those sales. The fact that I’m struggling to think of a good soccer moment shows what kind of year it was.
Worst Moment of 2019
In a year where Zusi was victimized over and over on the defensive side of the ball, it’s tough to pick just one. I’ll instead choose two games, both against Monterrey. A total of 10 goals were let in and Zusi never seemed to recover from those games. He showed how important Ike Opara was to the way he played and he was both worse defensively and offensively without Ike there to cover for him.
It’s all about what Zusi adds to the offense. He’s never been a great defender but what he brought to the offensive side of the ball made up for that. In 2019, that disappeared. In 2018 he had two goals and seven assist in MLS play and as shown above those fell to zero and two respectively in 2019. Zusi had none in the US Open Cup or CCL either. His starting job is anything but secure for 2020.
Fan Vote: Keep, Banish or Wait
A lot of people wanted to wait on Zusi and it’s not like it got better by the end of the season. One thing in his favor is Jaylin Lindsey replaced him in the final game and Sporting went on to allow six goals. It’s always possible Zusi is traded (though who would take that contract) or that he’s taken in the MLS Expansion draft (though again, who wants that contract). He has two more guaranteed years so likely SKC will hope for a bounce back 2020 and he’ll definitely not be assured the starting spot.