Major League Soccer’s first ever international Homegrown player is no longer considered an international. Sporting Kansas City announced on Tuesday that Daniel Salloi would no longer take up an international roster spot as he had been granted his green card. The announcement was snuck into the larger move of signing Nicolas Hasler to backup Graham Zusi.
Hasler is a Liechtenstein international and will immediately use up the vacated international slot. Sporting KC are allowed eight international players (barring a trade) and those slots are currently occupied by Botond Barath, Yohan Croizet, Andreu Fontas, Felipe Gutierrez, Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell, Abdul Rwatubyaye and Hasler.
SKC have found themselves quite good at getting green cards over the years. A look down the roster will quickly show you that. The club currently has several former international players with green cards that allow them to not take up one of those precious spots. Outside of the aforementioned Salloi, there is also Gerso Fernandes, Jimmy Medranda and Ilie Sanchez.
Famously (infamously?) they got a green card for Latif Blessing at the end of the 2017 which ultimately caused him to not be protected in the subsequent expansion draft and allowed LAFC to swoop in and steal him.
The saga for Salloi’s green card stretched on longer than most. At the end of May 2018 it was reported he was close to getting one but then everything went radio silent. In the preseason The Blue Testament asked Peter Vermes about the status and he essentially said it’s up to the government and out of the club’s hands.
The addition of Hasler will put the team up to 28 players, which still leaves open the possibility of an addition or two. Sporting KC nearly always cut someone around July 1st, so more space is likely to open up at or around the secondary transfer window.
Hasler knows this all too well as he was cut to make room for Nicolas Gaitan when the Chicago Fire were out of international roster spots. Time will tell who, if anyone, gets chopped this summer. I wouldn’t be stunned if SKC cut him again and signed a domestic right back if an international target they value becomes available. Then again, who knows how close some of SKC’s internationals currently on the roster are to getting their green cards. I’m certain the process is underway for at least some of them.