In this edition of Sporting Numerology we take a look at numbers 18 and 19. With these numbers we have a number of Sporting Kansas City’s former back up goalkeepers included on this list. There’s also a former player who became a coach for the club for a short period of time, the best goals per game average in club history, and a top 10 goal scorer in club history.
Number of players to wear number 13
Billy Baumhoff 1996
Baumhoff was selected in the 13th round of the Inaugural Draft, but never played a game for Kansas City.
Yari Allnut 1996
Was acquired on loan from the Carolina Dynamo for just a single game in May against San Jose. Allnut was a half time substitute for Eric Eichmann. In his one 45 minute appearance though Allnut scored KC’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss. That gives Allnut the best goals per game average in club history.
Chris Snitko 1997-1999
Snitko was selected by Kansas City in the 1996 College Draft but spent much of that year with the US Olympic team. Over the three years Snitko wore the number 18 jersey he played 26 games in goal for Kansas City. In 1997 and 1998 he was the back up to started Mike Ammann and played just 10 games, eight of them starts. He was set to be the backup in 1999 to Tony Meola but an injury to Meola put him into the position of playing more games. He made 16 appearances in his final season in KC, 15 of them starts. He finished his career in KC with a 1.69 goals against average in goal and a 5-17 record in league play.
Tahj Jakins 2000-2001
The number one pick in the 1997 College Draft, Jakins moved to the Wizards early in the 2000 season and played two years with KC. The defender made just two appearances for the club in 2000, both starts, and followed that up with 10 appearances in 2001, with seven of them being starts. He spent time in parts of both seasons on loan to lower division sides in the US before being waived at the end of the 2001 season.
Chris Brunt 2002-2003
Over two seasons in Kansas City, Brunt played in a total of nine games in league play for Kansas City, four of those games were starts, he scored a goal for KC in the 2003 season.
Khari Stephenson 2005
The surprise of the 2004 playoff run for Kansas City moved to number 18 in 2005. He didn’t build on the success though and appeared in just six games in 2005, only one of them was a start. He also appeared in both of KC’s US Open Cup games that year before being waived to make room on the roster for the next player on the list.
Antti Sumiala 2005
Brought in late in 2005, Sumiala made just two appearances for Kansas City, starting the final two games of the season. He recorded one assist for Kansas City, but played just 116 minutes over his two appearances.
Will Hesmer 2006
Made his league debut in 2006 after only playing in US Open Cup games the year before. Hesmer made three appearances in league play for KC, spelling starter Bo Oshoniyi. He started two more US Open Cup games in his final season in KC.
AJ Godbolt 2007
Drafted in the third round of the 2007 Supplemental Draft, Godbolt signed for the club but didn’t make a single appearance in his lone season in KC.
Eric Kronberg 2008-2013
Having been with KC the prior two season, Kronberg made his debut for KC in 2008 along with his switch to the number 18, he appeared in an Open Cup qualifier and two US Open Cup games. The six seasons Kronberg wore the number 18 jersey he was KC’s primary back up behind Kevin Hartman and Jimmy Nielsen save for the 2009 and 2012 seasons where he missed the year with injury. He didn’t make his league debut until 2010 in the season finale. He appeared in just five league games over his time in KC, four of them starts, the one substitute appearance being the opening of Children’s Mercy Park. He did appear in six Open Cup games, five Open Cup qualifiers, and four Champions League games over his time wearing the number.
Victor Munoz 2014
Munoz appeared in one game in all competitions for Kansas City, starting KC’s Open Cup game against Minnesota United (back when they were still in the NASL). He played just 36 minutes before being subbed out for Alex Martinez. He remained with the team until the end of the season when his contract option wasn’t picked up.
James Ansu Rogers 2015
Drafted in the third round of the 2015 Superdraft, Rogers was with Sporting until June when he was waived without playing a game.
Eric Dick 2018-
Drafted in the first round of the 2018 Superdraft, Dick has spent the majority of his first two years with the Swope Park Rangers (now Sporting KC II) or backing up Tim Melia when Adrian Zendejas had been with Swope. He has only played one game with Sporting’s first team, the season finale of the 2019 season. He’s spending the 2020 season on loan with Phoenix Rising in the USL Championship.
Best player to wear the number: The list of players who have worn the number 18 jersey is not exactly glamorous. Of the numbers that are considered “World Cup numbers”, numbers 1-23, the number 18 has been worn the fewest for games in Kansas City’s history. Players wearing the number 18 have appeared in just 65 league games in 25 years, that’s certainly helped by the fact that 13 of the 25 years the jersey has been worn by one of KC’s reserve goalkeepers. I’m not sure any of the field players really deserve the spot, of the nine field players to wear the number, they’ve made a combined 30 appearances and a total of just 1,353 minutes played. So, it has to come down to one of the goalkeepers. Eric Dick is eliminated because he’s only played one first team game for the club and I’m not going to look at his time with KC’s USL team in this situation, leaving Chris Snitko, Will Hesmer, and Eric Kronberg. With the limited league appearances for all of them I looked at their play in all competitions, including league play. Snitko’s career record wearing the number 18 was 5-18, Hesmer’s was 2-3, and Kronberg’s was 9-4-5. Yes, Kronberg’s numbers are helped by a dramatically better team than the one that Snitko had for the majority of the starts in his career, but he certainly had his part to play in those results. By process of elimination, the best player to wear the number 18 jersey is Eric Kronberg.
Number of players to wear number: 11
Dionysius Sebwe 1996
Never played a game for KC, was waived a couple days after the club’s first game.
Jake Dancy 1997
In his first season in Kansas City, Dancy made just three appearances for the club, all coming as a substitute.
Scott Vermillion 1998
In his first season in KC, Vermillion played in 22 games for Kansas City, starting all of them. He scored one goal and had three assists.
Chris Henderson 1999-2000
Acquired from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Matt McKeon, Henderson played 61 games over his two seasons in Kansas City. In 1999 he scored three goals and had six assists, he increased those amounts greatly in 2000 scoring 9 goals and adding 9 assists. The 18 goals he was involved in lead the team in 2000, one more than Preki that year (3 goals, 14 assists). In 2000 he played in 31 of KC’s 32 games, starting 30 of them. He also scored a goal for Kansas City in the playoffs while playing every minute of KC’s run to MLS Cup 2000.
Eric Quill 2002-2003
Acquired in the Dispersal Draft when the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion folded, Quill played in 43 games over his two seasons in Kansas City, just 16 in 2002, but 27 in 2003. He added three goals and nine assists over his time in Kansas City while also scoring in the playoffs and in the Open Cup for Kansas City. He ended up being traded after the season with Carey Talley to the Dallas Burn for Shavar Thomas and allocation money.
Matt Taylor 2004
Drafted in the first round of the 2004 MLS Superdraft as another potential goal scorer for Kansas City, his minutes were hurt by Davy Arnaud’s break out season in 2004. Taylor played in 17 games for Kansas City, but only got four starts. He added three goals and an assist as well as adding an assist in the US Open Cup on KC’s route to win the competition that year. His lone playoff appearance though is likely what most fans will remember him for, in MLS Cup 2004 down a goal Taylor ended the game trying to help the Wizards find an equalizer. Taylor had a couple of chances, including one in second half stoppage time that was likely his best that he couldn’t put away. Taylor was then left exposed in the expansion draft and selected by Chivas USA.
Scott Sealy 2005-2008
KC tried the forward route in the MLS Superdraft first round for a second year in a row selecting Sealy in the first round in 2005 and had more success with the Trinidad and Tobago international. Over his four years with Kansas City, Sealy made 88 appearances for KC, 64 of them starts for KC. In that time, he scored 28 goals and added five assists in league play, including leading the team in scoring in 2006 with 10 goals, his career high. His numbers dwindled as did his minutes by 2008, when he only scored two goals in 13 games before being traded to San Jose in July.
Sunil Chhetri 2010
The Indian international who drew a lot of attention to Kansas City when they signed him in 2010 only ever made one competitive appearance for Kansas City, in a US Open Cup qualifier against the Colorado Rapids where he played the first 45 minutes. He did make a token appearance against Manchester United in KC’s friendly win, but he spent a lot of his time on loan to the Indian national team as they prepared for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
Peterson Joseph 2011-2014
The Haitian Xavi signed with Sporting late in the 2011 and over his time in Kansas City Joseph made 34 league appearances for Kansas City, recording one assist. In the 2012 playoffs against the Houston Dynamo his play in the midfield with Oriol Rosell gave fans hope for the future even though the team didn’t win the series the look of two young players helping KC control the midfield was something to look forward to. In 2013 Joseph made his most appearances for the club, playing in 23 games and starting 14 of them. Unfortunately, a medical issue that came up in late 2013 sidelined him for all of 2014 until the two mutually agreed to terminate his contract in August of that year.
Cristian Lobato 2017-2018
Joining the club in June of 2017, Lobato went on to make 17 appearances for KC in league play over his two seasons, making nine starts and scored three goals. Lobato became another in the long line of players tried at left back to potentially replace Seth Sinovic but that experiment did not last as long as others. Lobato’s time in KC was cut short when his 2018 season was ended early due to an injury.
Erik Hurtado 2019-
Hurtado was acquired by Kansas City before the 2019 season in a trade with Vancouver for a pair of draft picks. Hurtado’s 2019 season was cut short with injuries, he didn’t make his league debut for Kansas City until July. He played in 13 games, eight of them starts, and scored two goals. He’s played in both games so far in 2020, both as a substitute, scoring one goal so far this season.
Best player to wear number: This conversation comes down to just two players; Chris Henderson and Scott Sealy. Henderson played 61 games compared to Sealy’s 88. In their time Henderson scored 12 goals to Sealy’s 28 while Henderson had more assists than Sealy, 15 to 5. Looking at those numbers compared to games played, Henderson contributed to more goals per game than Sealy, but Sealy’s 28 goals put him at 9th all time in league play for Kansas City. This one is a close one for me and in the end I’ll fall back on trophies each player helped the club win and in that situation, Henderson was a key contributor to Kansas City winning their first two trophies in club history, so with that, the best player to wear 19 is Chris Henderson.