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Sporting KC 2019 Year in Review: Wan Kuzain

We continue our look back at 2019 with a player who played exclusively for the 2nd team.

Thad Bell

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 Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, who despite a run of appearances last year, missed his chance to get MLS minutes in 2019.

2019 MLS Stats*

Games Played (Started): 0 (0)

Minutes Played: 0

Games Suspended: 0

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

xG (expected goals): 0.00

Positions Played: All three midfield spots, but only for the Swope Park Rangers.

2019 Salary: $70,875.00

Contract Through (Option Years): 2020 (2021, 2022)

*All stats from 2019 MLS regular season unless otherwise noted.

2019 USL Championship Stats

Because he played only in the USL instead of 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): 25 (22)

Minutes Played: 1,959

Games Suspended: 0

Goals: 1

Assists: 2

Best Moment of 2019

Much like Lindsey, missing the 2019 MLS season and spending all of it in USL, doesn’t really leave a good candidate for “best” moment. Especially when SPR struggled so hard in USL too.

Worst Moment of 2019

I’m going to go two directions here. First, like Jaylin Lindsey yesterday, it’s about getting hurt at the wrong time. He wasn’t hurt nearly as long as Lindsey but his injury came when the team was desperate for bodies. That’s how he got onto the field in 2018 for SKC (six appearances, three starts) and he missed that chance in 2019.

The second “moment” is the death by a 1,000 cuts moment. Kuzain was said to be a future Ilie Sanchez replacement as a defensive midfielder. However, in 2019, game after game he started out of position further up the pitch for SPR while players like Ayyoub Allach, Camden Riley and Gedion Zelalem got his starting minutes a d-mid. An odd choice by Paulo Nagamura for the “future” Ilie replacement.

Interesting Stat

88.4 percent. That was Kuzain’s passing accuracy in USL. The only player with more than one start to out-perform that was Tucker Lepley (10 appearances, six starts). It showed Kuzain still had his trademark accurate touches. This also came further up the field as he often didn’t start at defensive midfielder as he had in past years. In total, he made 978 passes which was good for sixth on the team with only the above mentioned Allach besting him while not playing defense.

Fan Vote: Keep, Banish or Wait

Keep: 62.4%

Banish: 13.7%

Wait: 23.9%

Kuzain was right about the middle of the pack on the “keep” vote. He’ll almost certainly be around with his contract guaranteed through 2020, but it’s a real make or break year for him. If he doesn’t have a breakout season in USL (much like Felipe Hernandez in 2019) and at least get some first team minutes, it’ll be easy for the team to move on from him. When you aren’t starting at your preferred position and a guy who may not even be around in 2020 (Allach) is getting those minutes, that feels like a bad sign.