The MLS Secondary Transfer window has opened and teams are already starting to make their moves. With most leagues currently in their primary window, players are on the move around the world with teams trying to build for a new season.
In MLS teams are halfway through the regular season and have until August 7th to shore up weaknesses, add depth or build for the future. With Sporting Kansas City sitting outside of the playoff zone for the first time in years, it will be interesting to see what the team will do.
Sporting KC has seen an unprecedented number of injuries this season, manager Peter Vermes has been so shorthanded he has had to do an emergency loan from the Swope Park Rangers just to have subs for one game.
The lack of players and perhaps a lack of confidence after some rough losses, Sporting KC has struggled and find themselves in a very unfamiliar spot, five points out of the playoffs and looking up the standings at Houston, Minnesota and even San Jose.
“What I will not do, and I will be really frank with this,” Vermes told The Blue Testament a few days before the window opened. “I will not make an emotional decision based on where we are at right now. When you have as many players out and still have out it’s almost as if the summer transfer window is those guys returning to the team.”
“I have confidence in the fact that if all of those guys are available we are not only in a different place, I don’t know what the assessment is at that point, where we could use a guy and going to get a guy in that position,” Vermes continued. “So what I don’t want to do is be emotional or overreactive based on where we currently are and then put ourselves in a very poor position later in getting somebody that doesn’t fit or that we really don’t need and then we would’ve wasted our resources.”
Vermes did make two quick, reactive deals this season. He acquired Nicolas Hasler on April 2nd off of waivers and Benny Feilhaber on May 8th in a convoluted trade with Colorado. “I can tell you right now if we didn’t have those two, I think we would be in a really bad place. I say that because we needed people to help stabilize the team in a very, very difficult time when we were short so many players. We really needed them.”
“When Jaylin (Lindsey) went down, we were thinking okay we will have to mix-and-match someone if something happened to Zeus (Graham Zusi). Those were really important moves,” he explained. Both of those deals were also good financially according to sources that are familiar with the details.
Finances may be one of the bigger problems for Sporting KC making a move in this window or the next. An article by Sam McDowell in the Kansas City Star added some valuable info. He explained that with Vermes having built Sporting KC for 2019 to compete in multiple competitions, they did not leave a lot of room on the roster, the cap or allocation funds. The team may have the funds to make a move in one window or the other, but not both.
“We can manipulate the roster to do some things if we want to. We can if we want to,” Vermes stated.
With most of the injured players returning to practice and becoming available for selection, the coaching staff can start to determine where there is the most need but Vermes will not reveal where he thinks those needs are yet.
When asked before practice Tuesday if had a specific target area to look for in the window, Vermes responded. “A target area? It’s a hard thing, I would say I have some. I don’t really want to talk about what they are, but I would say that the problem is even if that is your target, it doesn’t mean this is the window that you can get it done in, we will act upon things if they are a good deal for us, especially in this time period.”
A target mentioned in the Star article is Luis Martins, a left back from Portugal. Vermes confirmed that Martins is a player that Sporting KC is interested in for this window and that they are having conversations.
He also added, “I would say that we probably have thirty targets that we are in conversations with to see which deals we can pull together.”
Martins is 27 and primarily played left back in Portugal and Spain. Vermes described him as a wide player, playing wing as well as left back.
When asked if he saw Sporting KC being active in this window, it did not take long for Vermes to answer.