As we move further down the list of numbers in Sporting Numerology, we’ve reached the point where the limited number of players to wear the numbers means more numbers get included in each edition. In this edition for Sporting KC you have a handful of players that wore different numbers for their first couple years with the team. You have a Sporting Legend, you have at least two future Sporting Legends, one trying to be named the best player at two different numbers while the other is on his third and final attempt to be named the best player at one number. You also have one of KC’s open tryout winners and a player who became a bit of a cult hero in the 2010 season for the club. Here’s the latest Sporting Numerology
Number of players to wear number: 6
Mo Johnston 1996
Not on the roster at the beginning of the season, Johnston joined the club for their fourth game of the season against the Columbus Crew, scoring two goals in KC’s 6-4 win over Columbus. In his one season wearing number 26, Johnston played in all 29 of KC’s remaining league games, starting all of them. He scored six goals and added three assists for KC that season before switching to number 10 in 1997.
Narciso Fernandes 2001
Made one six minute substitute appearance for KC early in the 2001 season against the Columbus Crew.
Taylor Graham 2003-2004
In the two years that “Big Tiny” wore the number 26 Graham played in 19 games in league play for KC, 17 of those games coming in 2004. seven of his 19 appearances were starts. He also scored one goal for Kansas City and played in three of KC’s US Open Cup games in 2004 on KC’s path to winning the tournament.
Ryan Raybould 2005-2007
Raybould spent three seasons with Kansas City, appearing in 19 games over those three years. Ten of his 19 appearances were starts, mainly as an outside back for the Wizards. He recorded three assists during his time with KC.
Kevin Souter 2008-2009
One of the two winners of KC’s 2008 open tryouts along with Nelson Pizarro, Souter made more appearances for KC between the two players. Souter played in eight games over his two seasons, starting five of them and scoring a goal in KC’s 2-0 win over Toronto. Souter became a regular starter for KC down the stretch in 2008, starting their last four league games and both playoff games that year.
Jaylin Lindsey 2018-
The Homegrown Player Lindsey has played in eight games for KC in league play so far. The majority of those came in the 2018 season when he played in seven and started six, recording one assist. He missed most of 2019 with an injury and only started the club’s finale last year. He’s yet to make a league appearance for KC in 2020.
Best player to wear the number: This one isn’t a contest, it’s Mo Johnston. While there are players that I personally appreciate in Raybould because I played against him growing up and Souter because I enjoyed talking to him at practices, Johnston clearly was the most successful player to wear the number 26.
Number of players to wear number: 10
John DeBrito 1997
In DeBrito’s first season in KC he made just two appearances, both as a substitute totally 53 minutes.
Justin Detter 2004-2005
The fourth forward on the depth chart in both his seasons in KC, behind Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff, and Matt Taylor in 2004 and behind Arnaud, Wolff, and Scott Sealy in 2005, Detter played in 10 league games over his two years. He made two starts for KC but didn’t score a league goal. He did score a goal in KC’s 2004 US Open Cup run before retiring early in 2005.
Jermaine Hue 2005-2006
Brought in late in the 2005 season along with Antti Sumiala, the Jamaican international appeared in five games over his two seasons. He made two starts in that time but totaled just 106 minutes in league play over his five appearances.
Chris Konopka 2007
Drafted in the third round of the 2007 Supplemental Draft, Konopka did not make an appearance in his one season in KC being the third goalkeeper behind Kevin Hartman and Eric Kronberg.
Boris Pardo 2009
Pardo was KC’s back up goalkeeper in 2009 as Eric Kronberg missed the season after shoulder surgery. Pardo didn’t play a league game but did play in goal for KC in their US Open Cup game against the Minnesota Thunder. He allowed three goals in that game but came up big in the shootout after a 3-3 tie. Pardo made to penalty kick saves as KC advanced 4-2 on penalty kicks.
Birahim Diop 2010
I remember the day of the first Diop Game in 2010 and being shocked to see Birahim Diop listed as the starter. Then he proceeded to go out and score two goals in KC’s 4-1 win over New England. Diop played 15 games for KC in 2010 wearing the number 27 jersey, making seven starts. Diop recorded five goals (his other three came in the Diop Game Part 2 on the final day of the season) in the 2010 season and added one assist as well.
Stephane Auvray 2011
In Auvray’s second season in Kansas City the Guadeloupe international appeared in six games for Kansas City, just three starts, none of them coming after June of that year.
Kyle Miller 2012-2013
Miller spent two seasons with KC but never played a competitive game for the club. He did score a goal in KC’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City back in 2012.
Roger Espinoza 2015-2017
Espinoza returned to Kansas City in 2015 after spending 2014 with Wigan Athletic, collecting an FA Cup winners’ medal in the process. Over his three seasons wearing the number 27, Espinoza played in 77 games for KC, starting all of them. He scored three goals and had 12 assists in those three seasons. His contribution to the team in this time may be best exhibited by his absence in 2015 after his season was ended early with an injury. His importance in the 2015 season was very clear when he was out of the lineup.
Gianluca Busio 2020-
Moving to the number 27 this season, Busio has appeared in both of KC’s games so far, both as a substitute.
Best player to wear the number: While Birahim Diop would be a nice feel good selection here, especially for the two Diop Games, the best player to wear the number 27 is Roger Espinoza. He wore the number in two of KC’s US Open Cup title runs in 2015 (though he missed the semifinal and final with injury) and 2017.
Number of players to wear number: 7
Mike Burns 2001
In Burns’ first season in Kansas City he played in 19 games for the club, starting 14 of them and adding three assists in that time. He also started all three of KC’s playoff games that year adding another assist and scored a goal in the US Open Cup.
Byron Carmichael 2003
Drafted with the 60th and final pick of the 2003 MLS Superdraft, Carmichael never played a first team game for the club.
Pat McGinnis 2005
McGinnis never played a game for the club in the 2005 season.
Stephen Shirley 2006
Shirley never played in an MLS game for Kansas City in his one year with the club, but he did play in both of the club’s US Open Cup games that year, playing all 180 minutes of those two games.
Graham Zusi 2009-2010
Zusi had his breakout season in 2011 after he had switched to the number 8, but his first two years with the club he wore number 28. Over those two years, Zusi made 32 appearances for the club, starting nine of those games. He recorded one goal and one assist during that time.
Scott Angevine 2012
A player from KC’s academy program, Angevine was signed for KC’s friendly against Montpellier in the 2012 season. He did not play a game for the club.
Cameron Duke 2019-
Signed late in the 2019 season as a Homegrown Player, Duke has yet to make his first team debut for the club.
Best player to wear the number: This choice comes down to two players, Mike Burns’ one season wearing the number and Graham Zusi’s first two years in the league wearing the number. While Zusi appeared in more games over the time wearing the number, Burns made more appearances per season, he also made more starts for the club than Zusi (14 to 9) and contributed to more goals with three assists compared to Zusi’s one goal and one assist. Burns’ also contributed to goals in the playoffs and US Open Cup while KC didn’t make the playoffs in Zusi’s first two seasons and he only made two appearances in the US Open Cup or qualifiers. In the end the best player to wear the number is Mike Burns because he contributed more wearing the number than Zusi did.