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Sporting Kansas City Contracts: End of 2020

A look at who is currently under contract with 2020 coming to a close.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With the wild year that is 2020 finally coming to an end in the coming days, it felt like a good time to look at the status of Sporting Kansas City’s roster heading into the “dark period” that is Christmas and New Years. The disclosed MLS Offseason Schedule has zipped past with Sporting KC making just a single move so far — the signing of backup goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh from the New York Red Bulls via the Re-Entry Draft.

Just Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft remains and that is set for Tuesday the 22nd. SKC veterans Felipe Gutierrez and Winston Reid remain available for selection. Both players become slightly more likely to be selected as teams are only “required to make a genuine offer to the player within seven days.” They don’t have to assume the contract of the former player — in Gutierrez’s case, one that paid him just south of $1.7 million in 2019.

Last time Peter Vermes spoke with the media he confirmed that talks were ongoing with Gutierrez and Reid. The team also confirmed they were in contract negotiations with free agents Roger Espinoza, Erik Hurtado as well as Gerso Fernandes who is also out of contract. Because of that, none of these players will appear on the roster below.

Roster Breakdown

Before getting into the contracts, let’s take a brief look at who is filling what spots and what flexibility remains for Sporting KC.

Designated Players: Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Johnny Russell

As of now, all three DP slots are filled, but there is some movement that can be had. Pulido must remain a DP as he had a massive transfer fee (and likely a large, yet unknown salary) that will be unable to be bought down.

It gets a bit murkier with Kinda. If his rumored transfer fee of $3.7 million is true, he is likely forced to remain a DP as well. He has three years remaining on his deal and the loan purchase option technically is triggered for 2021. That means the $3.7m would be spread over those three years, or $1.233 million per year. The rumor also stated he’s make “over half a million dollars” in salary. We never got 2020 salary data so we don’t know for sure. Regardless that would take Kinda’s salary budget charge over the threshold to be bought down using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) of $1,612,500 (in 2020 — though this may remain in effect in 2021 because of the revised CBA, even if it remains at the initial 2021 levels [$1,651,250] it’s not enough).

Russell’s last known salary was just south of $1.5 million, so he is a DP right now but could be bought down if another DP is brought in. Gutierrez would have been a DP too, presumably with Russell being bought down but with him currently renegotiating, presumably it’s for a deal that’s under the TAM threshold for a buy down due to his injury history.

International Spots: Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Roberto Puncec, Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda

Team’s get eight international slots, barring trades, so that leaves three remaining. All the spots they had traded away revert to them for 2021, so there is room to add internationally. There are plenty of other players like Ilie Sanchez, Daniel Salloi and Russell who previously were internationals but they have green cards and don’t count now. It’s possible players like Fontas and Martins, who have been around for a bit longer, are on the verge of obtaining that status as well, though things have slowed in recent years.

Homegrown Players: Daniel Salloi, Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey, Tyler Freeman, Cameron Duke, Felipe Hernandez, John Pulskamp, Wilson Harris

There are no limits on the number of Homegrown signings a club can have, though to fill the final two spots of the Reserve Roster, those contracts must be Homegrown. It’s a non-issue as Sporting are loaded with Homegrowns with more likely on the way.

Roster Designations

Additionally, the 30 MLS roster spots are broken down into Senior Roster spots (1 to 20), Supplemental Roster spots (21-24) and Reserve Roster spots (25-30). SKC have space at all three levels of the roster after the roster trimming right after the season.

Current 2021 Roster

As of this writing Sporting have 21 players under contract for the 2021 season. There will be plenty of additions made beyond the McIntosh signing. As for McIntosh, details of his contract aren’t known. The Blue Testament confirmed with the team that McIntosh was out of contract with RBNY so the team has a new deal with him. This story will be updated with that information once it’s known.

Assuming McIntosh is just signed through 2021, that means 13 players’ deals run through this year though the team holds options on all but four of them at this point (Zusi, Salloi, Russell, Smith). Depending on the moves in the coming weeks and the performance in 2021, the team could look a lot different come 2022.

End of 2020 Sporting KC Contract Options

Name Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Name Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Graham Zusi RB 1/15/2009 2021 None
Tim Melia GK 12/23/2014 2022 None
Daniel Salloi LW HG 1/13/2016 2021 None
Ilie Sanchez CDM 1/13/2017 2021 2022
Gianluca Busio CAM HG 8/25/2017 2021 2022
Jaylin Lindsey RB HG 1/1/2018 2021 2022
Johnny Russell LW DP 1/31/2018 2021 None
Graham Smith CB 2/15/2018 2021 None
Andreu Fontas CB INT 8/8/2018 2022 None
Tyler Freeman FWD HG 1/1/2019 2022 2023
Cameron Duke MID HG 7/18/2019 2022 2023
Luis Martins LB INT 8/1/2019 2021 2022
Felipe Hernandez MID HG 8/30/2019 2021 2022
Roberto Puncec CB INT 12/4/2019 2021 2022
Khiry Shelton FWD 12/9/2019 2022 2023
Alan Pulido CF INT-DP 12/10/2019 2023 None
Amadou Dia LB 1/10/2020 2021 2022
Gadi Kinda MID INT-DP 1/23/2020 2023 None
John Pulskamp GK HG 2/24/2020 2022 2023
Wilson Harris CF HG 10/21/2020 2021 2022, 2023
Kendall McIntosh GK 12/12/2020 Unknown Unknown