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 look at the newest member of Sporting KC’s first team — Felipe Hernandez.
2019 MLS Stats*
Games Played (Started): 2 (1)
Minutes Played: 95
Games Suspended: 0
xG (expected goals): 0.01
Positions Played: Both advanced midfield spots. A tiny bit of winger for SKC and SPR.
2019 Salary: $56,250.00
Contract Through (Option Years): 2020 (2021, 2022)
*All stats from 2019 MLS regular season unless otherwise noted.
2019 USL Championship Stats
Because he played more in USL than in MLS, it only seemed right to give a wider berth of stats. Apologies to Graham Smith and Gedion Zelalem who didn’t quite get this treatment.
Games Played (Started): 30 (28)
Minutes Played: 2,565
Games Suspended: 2
Best Moment of 2019
Signing a first team contract. Felipe Hernandez is the first player to go from a SKC Academy affiliate, to the SKC Academy, to the Swope Park Rangers and then to the first team. And he absolutely deserved it. He’s grown immensely in his three seasons in USL and he was without a doubt the MVP of the Rangers in 2019. He’ll likely continue to see time in the USL Championship with Sporting KC II in 2020, but I truly hope he can push for some MLS minutes as he has ‘young Roger Espinoza’ written all over him.
Worst Moment of 2019
Being on the field for much of SPR’s 6-20-8 season. It was by far the worst team SPR has ever put on the field (and also by far the youngest). Despite that, Felipe appeared to work hard the entire time. He had a bite and explosiveness to his game that constantly came in handy (that even creeped through in his limited MLS minutes). Several of his goals were hustle plays and we all know Peter Vermes loves hustle.
Eight goals. Hernandez was second on the Ranger’s behind only the team’s center forward, Wilson Harris, in goals scored. All that while playing the box-to-box midfielder role. It seems unlikely that he would jump to MLS and replicate that production, but imagine if the midfielder in that spot (usually Roger Espinoza) had eight goals. Or all the midfielders combined who played that role had eight goals (they didn’t). Four of his goals came from outside the box too, which shows a range of shooting abilities. And none were from set pieces (though he has scored on set pieces in the past).
Fan Vote: Keep, Banish or Wait
Hernandez wasn’t on the team when this fan vote happened. I suspect he’s automatically a keep since he’s making the league minimum, he’s just 21-years-old, he’s guaranteed through next year and he really hasn’t gotten a chance to prove himself.