Continuing the look at the numbers worn by every single player in the history of Sporting Kansas City, it’s now time for numbers 2 and 3. For a reference of the rules I’m using for the process, please check my first posting on the Sporting Numerology.
Here is a running list of the numbers done so far:
Number of players to wear the number: 11
Tommy Reasoner 1996
Reasoner started KC’s first game ever in 1996, in fact he started the first five games. After that stretch though he started just 2 more games and subbed in six times in his lone season in KC.
Steve Pittman 1997
Pittman was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Mutiny before the 1997 season. The defender played in 26 of KC’s 32 games that season, starting 23 of them as the Wizards finished at the top of the Western Conference. He started both of the team’s playoff games that year but was waived at the end of the season.
Matt McKeon 1998, 2000-2002
KC’s first ever college draft pick, the number one pick in the 1996 out of St. Louis, McKeon took the number 2 jersey in the 1998 season when he played in 22 games, starting 21 of them as the Wizards missed the playoffs for the last time. At the end of the season McKeon was traded to Colorado for Chris Henderson. After the 1999 season though McKeon returned to Kansas City along with Peter Vermes. Over the next three years McKeon was a staple in KC’s lineup, appearing in 30 of 32 games in 2000, 26 of 27 in 2001, and 23 of 28 in 2002. Over those four years in the number 2 jersey, McKeon scored 9 goals and added 15 assists in that stretch. He formed a strong partnership with Kerry Zavagnin in the center of KC’s three-man midfield in the run to the 2000 MLS Cup.
Brandon Prideaux 1999
Prideaux was a big player in KC’s run to MLS Cup in 2000, but the year before that he wore number 2 for one season in the worst season in club history. Prideaux played in 15 games, starting eight of them. Most of those appearances came after Bob Gansler took over as coach of the club after the firing of Ron Newman and Ken Fogarty’s time as interim head coach.
Vuk Rasovic 2004
Rasovic played in just one game for Kansas City in their run in the 2004 season, and that game didn’t go well for him. His lone appearance came in a 2-0 home win over Dallas where he was replaced at half time by Shavar Thomas at center back. With Thomas, Jimmy Conrad, and even Nick Garcia in the center back depth chart, Rasovic was unable to get on the field for the rest of the season for Kansas City.
Michael Harrington 2007-2012
The first draft pick of the OnGoal era for Kansas City, Harrington had a solid, if unspectacular career with Kansas City. Wearing the number 2 over his entire career, Harrington bounced between outside back and winger in Kansas City’s system, specifically under Curt Onalfo. Under Peter Vermes, Harrington tended to strictly be a left back for the club. Harrington made 149 league appearances for the club, scoring five goals. Towards the end of his run in Kansas City, Harrington lost his starting spot to KC native, Seth Sinovic, starting just 9 games and appearing in 11 in his final season with the club in 2012.
Yann Songo’o 2013
Songo’o never made a first team appearance for the club, he spent most of his time with the club on loan to Orlando City when they were Sporting Kansas City’s USL affiliate. He’d made 12 appearances there before agreeing to mutually terminate his contract with KC in June.
Erik Palmer-Brown 2013-2017
Signed in August of 2013 as the club’s youngest Homegrown Player at the time, Palmer-Brown had an inauspicious start to his career. Thrown into his first start in 2014 as the center back in a three man back line due to injuries and national team call ups, Palmer-Brown earned a red card 64 minutes into his debut, which eventually saw Kevin Ellis switch to the position for KC. He spent 2016 on loan to Porto’s second team but didn’t earn a permanent move and then moved on a free to Manchester City after the 2017 season after making 20 appearances for the club.
Amer Didic 2018
Didic’s first and only full season as a member of Sporting’s roster he didn’t make a single league appearance, reduced to a single US Open Cup appearance against Real Salt Lake that year. He spent the rest of his time on loan to the Swope Park Rangers.
Botond Barath 2019-
The player who currently wears the number 2 jersey, Barath became the starter at the right center back position for Peter Vermes early in 2019 as Andreu Fontas struggled with injury and the speed of play in the league. Barath played in 21 games for Sporting, 20 of those starts, scoring one goal.
Best player to wear the number: This choice isn’t an exceptionally hard one, Michael Harrington is the best player to wear the number 2 jersey. I did have a little pause as I looked back through the players when I came to Matt McKeon, and if he’d worn number 2 his whole career it might have been closer. Harrington though played in more games wearing number 2 (149 to 101), spent longer wearing the number, and while McKeon won an MLS Cup compared to Harrington winning a US Open Cup (in a final he only played the final 20 minutes of extra time in) this spot goes to Harrington.
Number of players to wear the number: 8
Paul Wright 1996-1999
Wright was an indoor soccer legend before joining the Wiz in the 1996 Supplemental Draft, so it’s not a huge surprise that his former coach in San Diego, Ron Newman, would bring him outdoor with him. Wright spent almost four seasons with the club, playing in 83 league games and scoring 11 goals for the club. Newman’s departure in KC spelled the end for Wright’s time with the club as well as he was waived in May of 1999.
Tony Soto 1999
Soto picked up the number three jersey when KC acquired him, but Soto didn’t have much more success than Wright in the 1999 season, he played in four games, starting three of them in a five game stretch in July and August of the 1999 season.
Nick Garcia 2000-2007
The Wizards first round draft pick in 2000, Garcia immediately stepped into the starting 11 for the Wizards. In his rookie year, Garcia started all 40 games for the club helping lead them to the Supporters’ Shield/MLS Cup double. Overall Garcia played 247 league games for the club and started 224 of them. When he left the club before the 2008 season in a trade, Garcia was the club’s all-time leader for pretty much every stat that had to do with longevity (appearances, starts, minutes played in both league and in all competitions).
Chance Myers 2008-2009
Myers, the player who KC picked with the first round pick they acquired from the San Jose Earthquakes in return for Garcia, was a last-minute switch to the number 3. Myers had originally picked to wear the number 7, but the club’s acquisition of Claudio Lopez weeks before the start of the season, saw Myers switch to the number 3. Myers struggled in his first two years in the league with injuries, appearing in only 16 games over those first two seasons with the club.
Korede Aiyegbusi 2010-2012
Aiyegbusi was a second-round draft pick for KC in the 2010 Superdraft, but over three seasons with the club Aiyegbusi made just nine league appearances for the club, two of them starts. He did get to lift a US Open Cup though as he was on the team when they won the 2012 competition.
Ike Opara 2013-2018
Opara was one of Peter Vermes’ reclamation prospects that he brought in after several injury issues while he was with San Jose. In his first year with the club Opara played in 18 games, making 15 starts while primarily being a back up to Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin. The next two years though Opara’s injuries returned and he made just six starts, and as was well documented he considered retirement. From 2016 on though Opara made 25 appearances, 30 appearances, and 31 appearances for the club, capturing a Defender of the Year award in the process.
Abdul Rwatubyaye 2019
Rwatubyaye was brought in as a raw project ahead of the 2019 season but didn’t last long with Sporting. He played in two games in April for the club, one coming on for Matt Besler after an injury took him out with Andreu Fontas still out with an injury, in KC’s 4-1 loss to San Jose and then started the next week in the 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution. Shortly after that he was traded by Sporting to the Colorado Rapids to acquire Benny Feilhaber as an injury replacement for Rodney Wallace on their roster.
Andreu Fontas 2020-
Fontas was still recovering from Achilles tendon surgery at the start of this season and has not appeared in any games since switching to the number 3.
Best player to wear the number: This one turned out to be a tougher choice than I expected. In my opinion it comes down to two players, Garcia and Opara. For Garcia he wasn’t ever a huge stand out player, he always seemed to be “second fiddle” to other center backs like Vermes and Jimmy Conrad during his tenure with the club. Opara was a second fiddle at times as well, but also stood out on his own winning a Defender of the Year award. Garcia also was a strong presence for a longer period of time for KC, peak Garcia for KC lasted from 2000 until the 2005/2006 seasons while Opara’s great run of form for KC really only lasted for two and a half seasons. In the end this may have been a tougher decision than the goalkeeper decision with the number 1 jersey, but I’ll choose the player with more individual accolades, Ike Opara, but it’s incredibly close and I could be swayed to selecting Garcia quite easily.