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Rumor: Sporting KC Linked to 25-Year-Old Venezuelan Winger

Ah, silly season is upon us.

Players of Venezuela’s Zamora celebrate.
Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City’s offseason has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start. With the MLS Expansion draft taking place tonight (SKC were sparred losing anyone, since technically they couldn’t), things are sure to open up as it becomes safer to grow your roster size (without risking losing players). Up to this point, it’s been all subtractions from Ilie Sanchez and Luis Martins, to the trade of Jaylin Lindsey.

The remainder of the week could bring signings with free agency starting tomorrow and the Re-Entry process following it on Friday.

Before that can happen, we have our first rumored signing of the offseason. There is just one source, so take it with a grain of salt. Mario Alberto Sánchez, who is a panelist on El Mundo es un Balón (a Venezuelan soccer show it appears), is reporting that several teams, including Sporting KC, are interested in acquiring winger Richard Figueroa.

Per Twitter Translation:

“Winger Richard Figueroa is not staying with Zamora FC for the next tournament. The Venezuelan has raised the interest of Envigado (Colombia), Sporting Kansas City (USA), Atlante (Mexico) and Venezuelan soccer teams. In the last tournament he was one of the best in the club and scored 9 goals.”

Figueroa currently plays for Zamora FC in Venezuela’s first division. In 21 appearances, Richard has scored nine goals and added three assists. That’s in 1,686 minutes played. That’s just under a goal every other game and a solid feat for a winger. Figueroa is just 25-years-old and primarily lines up on the left wing, though he can play on the right and is apparently right footed. Peter Vermes loves a good inverted winger, just like Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell play.

If the signing were to happen, which again, most rumors don’t pan out, he would appear to be a depth piece that could potentially provide a punch off the bench. In my classic, ‘let’s use video games to scout a player’ technique, neither FIFA or Football Manager rate him highly, though there are no up to date data points on him.

Transfermarkt has him out of contract at the end of the year, so that would mean he could leave on a free transfer. In a league with a salary budget like MLS, that makes sense because it would lower his charge and eliminate the need of a transfer fee.

He has spent his entire career to this point in Venezuela, previously playing for Zulia FC, Deportivo Anzoategui and Deportivo Lara before joining Zamora. 2021 was by far his most prolific season, but it appears Venezuela follows the same model as Liga MX playing a split season Apertura and Clausura. In 2018 he had seven goals across the split season, but outside of that he’s usually only scored once per “season” or twice (or less) across the split season. He has 21 career goals and five career assists.

As a low risk move, it wouldn’t seem to be a huge deal, however, he would occupy an international roster spot. Six of eight of those spots are already taken and a more high profile player could be destined for one of them. It’s always possible players get green cards and free more spots up too, as Andreu Fontas is an international that has already been on the team three and a half seasons. The next two players, Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda (in terms of international slots with tenure), have been with the club for two seasons.

As far as team fit, he could come off the bench for a punch (though it’s unclear if he plays with pace, as FIFA and FM rate him low). If he develops into anything, Salloi is out of contract after 2022, so adding depth is never a bad idea. Though, let’s hope Daniel sticks around.

The Blue Testament will bring you more rumors (and actual signings) as they become available. Thanks to friend of the site, Daniel Sperry, for pointing out the rumor.