Continuing to work through the numbers in this edition of Sporting Numerology we look at the numbers 12 and 13. With these numbers you have a Sporting Legend, an original fan favorite, a current fan favorite, the youngest goal scorer in Sporting’s history, and more. Here’s the next edition in Sporting Numerology.
Number of players to wear number: 9
Vitalis “Digital” Takawira 1996-1999
The scorer of the first goal in Sporting Kansas City Wiz(ards) history had a strong first few years in Kansas City, scoring 28 goals and 17 assists in his first three years with KC. His fourth and final year in KC was a struggle along with the rest of the team as he didn’t score a goal and recorded just two assists in his final season. Over his entire time with KC, he made 103 league appearances, scored his 28 goals and added 19 assists. He also scored a pair of playoff goals and a single US Open Cup goal during his career with KC.
Peter Byaruhanga 2000-2001
Was with Kansas City for two years, but only played in games during his first year in Kansas City in 2000 after being drafted from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He made six appearances in 2000, two of them starts for Kansas City. He was waived halfway through the 2001 season.
Gary Glasgow 2002
Glasgow’s final season in Kansas City was his only season wearing the number 12 jersey, and by far his least productive for the club, appearing just three times in league play for KC, not scoring a single goal. Glasgow actually made more appearances in the CONCACAF Champions Cup that year (four) than he made league appearances. He also scored a goal and had two assists in the international competition.
Jimmy Conrad 2003-2010
Acquired from the San Jose Earthquakes before the 2003 season Conrad stepped into the center back position and was a consistent presence there for his eight seasons, he was in Kansas City. He played in 204 league games over his career with Kansas City, scoring 17 goals and adding four assists for the club. He helped lift the US Open Cup in 2004. Over his eight-year career with Kansas City he was on the league’s Best XI half those years and was named defender of the year in 2005.
Konrad Warzycha 2011-2012
Warzycha was drafted in the third round of the 2011 Superdraft but didn’t play a game that year due to injury. He made just one appearance in league play for Kansas City in 2012 but did make a pair of US Open Cup appearances in the club’s run to winning the cup that year.
Mikey Lopez 2013-2015
Drafted as a Generation Adidas player in 2013 Lopez didn’t make a league appearance his first year with the team, just making a single US Open Cup appearance. Over his second and third season the Generation Adidas player played in 14 league games but didn’t record a goal or an assist during his time in Kansas City.
Nuno Coelho 2016
Coelho’s time in Kansas City started brightly as he scored on his debut against the Seattle Sounders in the league opener that year to help Kansas City win 1-0. Of the platoon that Kansas City played at center back in 2016 (Coelho, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Lawrence Olum, Kevin Ellis), Coelho made the most starts, starting 20 games that year. The lack of consistency from the defense that year certainly didn’t help as Coelho was hampered by injuries off and on before returning to Portugal after the season.
Christian Volesky 2017
Was signed by Kansas City in January of 2017 but was waived by the club before the season officially kicked off.
Gerso Fernandes 2018-
Fernandes moved from the number 7 to 12 with the arrival of Johnny Russell for the 2018 season and has been successful over the two plus years he’s worn the number. He’s made 58 league appearances so far wearing the number 12 and scored seven goals while adding 12 assists for Sporting. He’s alternated between being an every game starter and coming off the bench for Kansas City since switching to the number 12 jersey, making 16 starts and 15 sub appearances in 2018 while making 21 starts and just four sub appearances in 2019.
Best player to wear the number: This one isn’t really a contest; Jimmy Conrad is the best player to wear number 12 for Sporting in their history. He’s won the individual awards (MLS Best XI, MLS Defender of the Year) along with team awards (2004 US Open Cup) that put him ahead of everyone else to wear the number. Digital Takawira and Gerso Fernandes deserve some honorable mention, but neither is close to Conrad’s level at the club. Outside those three players every other player to wear number 12 has made just 44 league appearances combined for the club.
Number of players to wear the number: 11
Mark Chung 1996-1998
Over Chung’s three years in Kansas City Chung played in 94 of 96 league games and 104 of 106 games in all competitions. He was the iron man for Kansas City over their first couple years. He was a consistent threat for Kansas City, scoring 20 goals and adding 25 assists for his three years in KC. In 1997 he was an MLS Best XI selection for KC. He also added a goal and an assist in the playoffs for KC as well.
Vicente Figueroa 1999-2000
Figueroa’s two years wearing the number 13 was a picture of the Kansas City Wizards over that same time frame. In 1999 Figueroa made 22 appearances, 14 of those were starts. In 2000 though as KC revamped their roster Figueroa made just eight league appearances, just three of them starts. He did score his lone goal for the club in 2000.
Andrew Gregor 2001
Gregor was a bit of a fan favorite during his one season in Kansas City, inspiring “Free Andrew Gregor” to come from a few Kansas City fans hoping that Gregor would get more time on the field. In his one season in KC, Gregor made 13 appearances in league play, seven of them starts and recorded two assists. He also played in all three of KC’s playoff games that year, their two Open Cup games, and five of their six games in the Copa Mercanorte. This was unfortunately his last stop in MLS, he spent the rest of his career jumping around the US minor league system.
Wolde Harris 2003-2004
Acquired from the New England Revolution in a trade that sent Dario Fabbro and Chris Brown to the Revs, Harris was brought in to add some goal scoring for the club. Unfortunately, he didn’t score a single regular season goal for KC in his 10 games he played in 2003. He did score a big goal in the playoffs though, scoring in just the third minute of the first game of their series against the Colorado Rapids. KC tied that game 1-1 before winning the second leg 2-0. He was on the roster for KC originally in 2004 but was waived before the season started.
Dustin Branan 2005
Signed by Kansas City for the 2005 season on a developmental contract, Branan spent just the one year in KC. He made one league appearance for Kansas City, a stoppage time appearance in a 4-2 away win over Real Salt Lake. His only other appearances for KC came in the US Open Cup that year where he played in both games, including one against his former (and future) team, the Minnesota Thunder.
Will John 2006-2007
The Kansas City native was acquired from the Chicago Fire in exchange for Diego Gutierrez before the 2006 season. Over his two seasons in Kansas City John made just four appearances for KC in league play and three appearances in the US Open Cup. John’s time with the Wizards may be more well known for his departure where he made comments about his time in Kansas City and had Robb Heineman respond to his comments on BigSoccer.
Rauwshan McKenzie 2008-2009
Part of the 2008 MLS Superdraft where Kansas City signed all six players, they drafted including Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza. McKenzie didn’t make an appearance in league play in his first season, just one 45-minute appearance in the US Open Cup. His 2009 season was more successful as he made five league appearance for KC, two in the US Open Cup and two in the SuperLiga. In the Open Cup he scored his one goal for the club.
Lawrence Olum 2011-2014
Acquired late in the 2011 season Olum played in 66 games over his first stint with KC with 40 of those games being starts. Over half of his starts came in the 2014 season. He scored three goals and had two assists during his four seasons during his first stint in KC. He also played in both of KC’s biggest games wearing the number 13, the first being the 2012 US Open Cup final starting for the suspended Aurelien Collin. The second was coming on as a substitute in just the 8th minute of the 2013 MLS Cup final against Real Salt Lake.
Amadou Dia 2015-2016, 2020
The third of KC’s three first round picks in the 2015 MLS Superdraft, Dia made 32 appearances for Kansas City over his first two seasons in Kansas City. Twenty-two of his 32 games were starts during his first stint in KC. In his first year in KC he started four games in KC’s run to the US Open Cup final as well as the club’s 120-minute shootout loss to Portland that season, recording an assist in all three competitions that year. He has yet to make his return on the field for KC in the two games so far, this 2020 season.
Benji Joya 2016-2017
Signed right before the roster freeze in 2016 Joya made just a single appearance for Kansas City, coming in their 3-1 win over Central FC in the CONACAF Champions League game. He was on the roster originally for 2017, but like Volesky and the number 12 jersey that year he was waived before the season started.
Gianluca Busio 2018-2019
The youngest Homegrown Player signing in team history the year before, Busio made his MLS debut in 2018 appearing seven times in league play for KC. He recorded the game winning assist on his starting debut against the Houston Dynamo in August, and then late in the season in Vancouver he scored his first MLS goal. In 2019 Busio made 22 appearances, 10 of them starts, scoring three goals and adding an assist.
Best player to wear the number: This one was fairly easy, although Lawrence Olum’s presence on the field for two trophies during his time in KC gave me slight pause, it wasn’t that close. Mark Chung’s 20 goals and 25 assists put him far ahead of everyone else who has worn the number 13.