Sporting Kansas City has announced roster moves ahead of the 2020 offseason, exercising options on goalkeeper Eric Dick, defender Graham Smith and forwards Gerso Fernandes, Erik Hurtado and Daniel Salloi.
The club declined options for defender Seth Sinovic and midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Gedion Zelalem. Forward Krisztian Nemeth and defenders Nicholas Hasler and Rodney Wallace are out of contract and will not return to the club in 2020.
The most surprising decision may be declining the contract option for Seth Sinovic. While the move makes some sense for on-the-field reasons (summer signing Luis Martins seems to have locked down the starting LB role), Sinovic had become a fan favorite and club mainstay both on and off the field over the past nine years.
Sinovic joined Sporting KC in May 2011. Since then, he’s gone on to make more than 250 appearances (245 starts) across all competitions for the club. The 32-year-old was instrumental in helping SKC win three US Open Cups and the 2013 MLS Cup. He finishes his Sporting career with four goals and sixteen assists.
Benny Feilhaber leaves the club for the second time in as many years. The 34-year-old spent five years with SKC from 2013-2017 before being traded to Los Angeles Football Club in January 2018. Feilhaber signed with the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2019 season but returned to Sporting KC via trade in May 2019 to help fill in for an injured Roger Espinoza. While his second stint with the club was not as successful as the first, Feilhaber remains loved by Kansas City fans. He helped the club win two US Open Cups and the 2013 MLS Cup and finishes his SKC career with 33 goals and 56 assists in 180 appearances for across all competitions.
Gedion Zelalem was acquired from Arsenal in March 2019 but struggled to find his footing at Sporting KC. He appeared in nine MLS matches for SKC, starting five. He did not appear in the Concacaf Champions League or the US Open Cup. He was reportedly due a very large raise if his option for 2020 was picked up.
Sinovic, Feilhaber, and Rodney Wallace will all be eligible for MLS free agency due to their age and years of service. Krisztian Nemeth and Nico Hasler will be eligible for the MLS Re-Entry draft, and Gedion Zelalem will go through the MLS waiver process.
Sporting KC now has 21 players under contract for the 2020 season:
Goalkeepers (2): Eric Dick, Tim Melia
Defenders (7): Botond Barath, Matt Besler, Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Luis Martins, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi
Midfielders (7): Gianluca Busio, Cameron Duke, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Gutierrez, Felipe Hernandez, Ilie Sanchez, Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal
Forwards (5): Gerso Fernandes, Tyler Freeman, Erik Hurtado, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi