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Sporting KC signs Croatian defender Roberto Puncec

SKC now has five natural center backs on the roster

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Eintracht Braunschweig v 1. FC Union Berlin - Second Bundesliga Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City announced that they have signed Croatian defender Roberto Punčec. Sporting KC and Puncec have a two-year MLS contract through 2021 with an option for 2022. The 28-year-old will occupy an international spot pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

Punčec has played in Croatia, Israel and Germany over 12 seasons with close to 300 matches. He played over 100 matches with Union Berlin in the second-division 2. Bundesliga before returning home to Croatia to play the last two and a half years for HNK Rijeka.

”Roberto has significant experience playing in Europe over the last several years,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said via press release. “He is very excited to be here and we look forward to him integrating into our club and our city.”

Punčec joins four other center backs on the roster: Matt Besler, Botond Baráth, Andreu Fontàs and Graham Smith. Fontàs had insertional Achilles tendon clean up and repair surgery in October with an expectation of being out for 4-5 months.

HNK Rijeka have now lost both of their starting center backs from this season. In addition to losing Punčec, Dario Župarić was signed by the Portland Timbers. lists Punčec’s playing style as ‘likes short passes’. The site lists his strengths as concentration and ball interception with passing and discipline as his weaknesses.

Highlight videos from agents can be misleading but ball interception was a main ingredient of this video.