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Sporting KC 2020 Year in Review: Jaylin Lindsey

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A career year for the future (present?) starting right back.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Sporting Kansas City
Kansas City, Kansas, USA; Sporting Kansas City defender Jaylin Lindsey (26) dribbles the ball against Minnesota United FC in the second half at Children’s Mercy Park.
Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

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.


The Blue Testament continues our look back at 2020 with another Homegrown player who had a breakout year — Jaylin Lindsey.

2020 Stats

Games Played (Started): 12 (11)*

Minutes Played: 1,059*

Goals: 0

Assists: 2*

xG (expected goals): 0.36

Positions Played: Right Back, Left Back

2019 Salary: $88,000

2020 Salary: Unknown - But likely at or slightly above 2019.

Contract Through (Option Years): 2021 (2022)

*All career highs.

Best Moment of 2020

Graham Zusi getting hurt? I keep giving these dark answers, but the injury opened a door. If Zusi doesn’t go down, does Jaylin Lindsey get significant minutes? It seems unlikely as, even when Zusi wouldn’t play great, he’s still usually getting the next start. Lindsey, up to 2020, had more starts out of position at left back than he did at right back. It’s a good sign Peter Vermes wanted to get him on the field enough to play him out of position, but it was an important step to get lots of good minutes on the proper side of the field (and he looked a lot better on the right).

Worst Moment of 2020

Speaking of looking bad on the left. It’s got to be that 5-2 loss to Houston. Lindsey (and the defense on the whole) was eviscerated by what looked to be an ascending Houston Dynamo team. And maybe they were on the rise but the sale of Alberth Elis a few weeks later would see them collapse to last place soon after.

Outside of that bad game, there were other bad moments. Lindsey was by no means perfect in 2020, but he showed promise. That’s what you want from a 20-year-old prospect. Who knows, he may have a 15-year-old prospect coming up behind him in no time.

Interesting Stat

4-1-2. That was Lindsey’s record as a starter at right back in the regular season. Zusi’s was 8-5-1. If we remove the four games Lindsey started on the left from Zusi’s totals then his numbers improve to 7-3-0. I’m not sure much can be taken from this. In elimination games they were a combined 0-2-1 (Zusi lost to Philadelphia Union in MLS is Back and Lindsey lost to Minnesota United and drew San Jose Earthquakes in the playoffs).

The point I’m trying to make is, their numbers aren’t that far apart. Of course no right back is solely responsible for wins and losses but they both had their fair share of ‘howlers’ in mistakes they’ve made. The difference is Zusi is 34 and Lindsey is 20. One is on the downslope of his career and the other is hopefully rising towards his potential.

Fan Vote Results

Keep: 91.5%

Release/Sell: 8.5%

Frankly, I’m surprised that 8.5 percent of the folks want Lindsey gone or sold. His 12 games played, 11 starts and 1,059 minutes were career highs. Injuries impacted much of his 2019 and in 2018 he almost entirely played out of position on the left. He may never be world class, but he’s barely gotten a chance. And what little chance he got was next to a rotating cavalry of center backs. Winston Reid, Roberto Puncec and Amadou Dia had played something like three total games together and they were the playoff starters.

Lindsey absolutely should come back. He’s on a budget friendly deal for the next two years and he is the heir apparent at right back. And who knows, maybe he’ll get sold off to Europe for big bucks when he proves he should be the day-in, day-out starter. He should get another chance to prove that in 2021 as Zusi’s injury timeline might not have him back for the start of the season, depending how far back that start gets pushed.