With the recent season ending injury to Felipe Gutierrez — his second significant injury in his three years with Sporting Kansas City — one has to start to wonder if he’s unlucky or injury prone.
You may recall his first significant injury was a groin injury back in 2018, the year he joined the club. He had scored five goals in five games and the world was very high on Felipe. He would go on to play 15 more games that season, but only add two more goals (though he brings much more than goals to this team).
In 2019 he had quite the bounce back year, staying healthy and playing in 32 games (31 starts) over 2,722 minutes and added 12 goals and three assists (he only missed two games due to yellow card accumulation).
Hopes were high for 2020 with Felipe being joined in the midfield by new loanee Gadi Kinda and returning champions Roger Espinoza and Ilie Sanchez. Instead, Gutierrez made just one preseason appearance before missing the final five games and the two MLS games played so far this year.
A History of Injuries
Before joining Sporting KC, Gutierrez had just come off a significant injury as well. He missed his final six games with Real Betis in Spain before sitting out an entire year and then ultimately joining KC on a free transfer. That was also a knee injury.
Back in July of 2014, Gutierrez, then with Twente Enschede FC in the Eredivisie, also suffered a knee injury that would keep him out until April 2015. He also has several other stretches of time missed, primarily due to knee injuries, but according to Transfermarkt, no more than six games were missed in any other stretches.
So since 2014, Gutierrez has had three fairly significant knee injuries and a groin injury. He will have lost his third season (all to knee injuries) since then (2014/15, 2017, 2020). He turns 30 on October 8th. That’s by no means old, but when three of your last six years are stolen by injury, his 30 is probably a bit older than a typical 30 year old athlete.
Now, injuries can be overcome. Look at Ike Opara. He was constantly hurt and under performing because of it. Since his last major injury, he’s won MLS Defender of the Year twice.
Gutierrez has one year left on his contract (a team held option). He said he wanted to say “four or five more years” in KC ahead of the 2020 season. His performance in 2021 will go a long way to showing if he has a future in Kansas City.
Felipe is one of my favorite players and I’m pulling for him. Here is to hoping the time off and rehab are just what he needs to really get healthy and have a long career ahead of him.