The 2020 MLS season has come to an end and much like we did in 2019 for Sporting Kansas City, it’s time to look back at how each player performed. Keep in mind the stats look diminished for many players, but just 21 regular season games were played in this COVID shortened season (instead of the typical 34). For the full list of players reviewed, head to our dedicated Year in Review page.
- Week One: Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Gerso, Khiry Shelton
- Week Two: Gadi Kinda, Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler
- Week Three: Roberto Puncec, Winston Reid, Luis Martins, Amadou Dia and Jaylin Lindsey
- Week Four: Felipe Hernandez, Gianluca Busio, Cameron Duke, Graham Smith and Andreu Fontas
- Week Five: Daniel Salloi
The Blue Testament’s look back at 2020 ends with this post. The following players who are getting a review either didn’t play at all in MLS or played very, very little. Because of the lack of playing time, we’ll break with the format and just give a brief rundown of the player and the results from the fan vote on if they should stay or go.
John Pulskamp - GK
19-year-old Homegrown keeper John Pulskamp was signed just ahead of the 2020 season. He didn’t make his first team debut, though he did appear to supplant Richard Sanchez as the backup keeper down the stretch. At such a young age, he appears to be battling players like Brooks Thompson (SKC II) to be the “keeper of the future.” Pulskamp has been impressive with a very young Sporting KC II in recent years, though the pandemic limited his loans to SKC II. He is signed through 2022 with an option for 2023.
2020 USL Stats: 2 GP (2 Starts), 180 minutes, one shutout, nine saves (75 percent)
Fan Vote Results - Pulskamp
The release/sell number is way too high. He has literally never gotten a chance to play and been on the team for less than a year. And he’s crazy young. Keepers peak much later in life and I’m excited to see what Pulskamp can do in the years to come. Also, he almost surely makes very little money.
Wilson Harris - Striker
Harris signed very late in 2020 as another Homegrown, not joining until October. With no word coming from Erik Hurtado, it’s likely that Harris will push for backup center forward minutes if Khiry Shelton is (where he probably belongs) on the wing. He has absolutely lit the USL Championship on fire for the last several seasons. He is still just 21-years-old and became the youngest player in USL history to 20 goals. It’ll be interesting to see how much he plays in 2021.
2020 USL Stats: 16 GP (13 Starts), 1,148 minutes, 8 goals (all this with 14 of 16 games on the road in 2020)
Fan Vote Results - Harris
Another set of release/sell numbers that are too high. I’ll chalk these up to some fans just not knowing who these kids are. Harris was barely on the team and had zero chance to play. He may not ever break through, but he’s likely on a cheap deal, he’s off budget and he has some solid potential. Go watch some old SKC II games on ESPN+ and see why there may be reason to get excited about him.
Tyler Freeman - Left Wing
Tyler Freeman has been on the roster the longest of any Homegrown on the list who will still be around for the 2021 season. His 2019 wages (the last numbers we know) were just $82,749.92 and likely slightly higher in 2020. He’s had a tougher time breaking in to even the second team, though he became more of a regular in 2020. He signed way back at the end of 2018 and is still just 18-years-old. He has still yet to make his first team debut and 2021 will be an important year to see if he can break through. Being a star in the USL will go a long way towards that. He is signed through 2022 with an option for 2023.
2020 USL Stats: 9 GP (8 Starts), 593 minutes, 2 goals
Fan Vote Results - Freeman
I’m slightly more forgiving of the release/sell vote because Freeman has struggled to get on the field with SKC II (let alone SKC). That said, he has two more guaranteed years and he became a pro at just 16. Not everyone is Gianluca Busio and good progress in 2021 and at the bare minimum being a day-in, day-out starter on the second team is a must (if he’s not needed for bench support on the first team).
Eric Dick - GK
Dick spent 2020 on loan with Phoenix Rising in the USLC. They did finish the year as the Western Conference winners, but Dick didn’t play a big role on the field with just two starts. He was a backup to former Swope Park Rangers keeper Zac Lubin. He’ll end his time in Kansas City with just one MLS start, the disastrous 6-0 Decision Day loss in 2019 to FC Dallas. He has shown real promise in his shot stopping but he really struggles with his feet.
2020 USL Stats: 2 GP (2 Starts), 180 minutes, 6 saves (60 percent)
Fan Vote Results - Dick
Pick up 2021 Option: 26.1%
Decline 2021 Option: 62.6%
Pick up 2021 Option and Sell: 11.3%
Dick’s option was declined at the end of the year and he was picked up by the Columbus Crew in the Re-Entry Draft. He joins a crowded group of keepers behind starter Eloy Room, Matt Lampson and Evan Bush (former SKC man Jon Kempin was traded to D.C. United to get the number of keepers down to four).
Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal - Midfielder
Kuzain just never quite broke through in three season in Kansas City. His rookie season (2018) saw him make three starts and get six appearances for 307 minutes (and a goal). Ill-timed injuries kept him off the field when squad depth was hindered in 2019 (remember when the team was so injured they couldn’t even practice?) and he didn’t appear for the first team again in 2020. Because of the pandemic, he wasn’t on loan with SKC II either, outside of the season opener which he didn’t even start. When you can’t get on the field for the second team (he wasn’t a consistent starter in 2019 either) it’s hard to keep you on a first team deal.
2020 USL Stats: 1 GP (0 Starts), 18 minutes, No goals
Fan Vote Results - Kuzain
Pick up 2021 Option: 30.5%
Decline 2021 Option: 58.2%
Pick up 2021 Option and Sell: 11.3%
Kuzain also had his 2021 option declined and he hasn’t yet landed on another team. It’s a shame St. Louis FC has folded after the season as it would have made sense for him to return “home.” It’ll be interesting to see if he pops up elsewhere in the US, heads to some place like Malaysia (he is the Malaysian Messi after all) or goes a different route all together.
Richard Sanchez - GK
Sanchez is the only player on this list to actually get on the field for Sporting KC in 2020, though he and many of us would like to forget. He came into the MLS is Back opener against Minnesota United when Tim Melia was sent off. SKC surrendered two late goals and lost 2-1. He started the next game, an ugly 3-2 win over a nine-man Colorado Rapids team. He would never get on the field again in 2020.
2020 MLS Stats: 2 GP (1 Start), 104 minutes, 2 saves
2020 USL Stats: 1 GP (1 Start), 90 minutes, 2 saves (50 percent)
Fan Vote Results - Sanchez
Let Him Walk: 88.4%
Sanchez did not re-sign (and there is no indication an offer was on the table) after the season and appears to have been replaced via the Re-Entry Draft when SKC selected Kendall McIntosh from New York Red Bulls. Sporting continue to rotate through backup keepers, likely trying to find their next Tim Melia while allowing their “kids” to go on loan to SKC II.