While Monday is a holiday for some, it’s a working day for Sporting Kansas City. The club announced their 2022 preseason schedule and roster and it had a few surprises on it, but nothing to go too crazy about. They will travel to AZ, as had already been disclosed, and play their first five games of the preseason before a surprise trip to Texas to face Toronto FC.
The slate includes a game with the USMNT (behind closed doors), against three MLS teams (Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers and Toronto) and two USL Championship teams (Phoenix Rising and El Paso Locomotive). At this point, the only confirmed game open to the public is against the Rapids, 12 days from now, in Tucson. However, further details will be released around media availability and any potential broadcasts of the games. The United States game is a closed door scrimmage, so results likely won’t even be announced from that.
The 2022 Preseason Schedule
- Friday, January 21st @ 12:00 PM CST — United States — Phoenix, AZ
- Saturday, January 29th @ 5:00 PM CST — Colorado Rapids — Tucson, AZ
- Thursday, February 3rd @ 12:00 PM CST — Portland Timbers — Phoenix, AZ
- Wednesday, February 9th @ 12:00 PM CST — El Paso Locomotive — Phoenix, AZ
- Saturday, February 12th @ 6:00 PM CST* — Phoenix Rising FC — Phoenix, AZ
- Saturday, February 19th @ 3:00 PM CST — Toronto FC — Austin, TX
*The time of this game was changed.
2022 Preseason Roster
In addition to announcing the schedule, the team indicated who travelled to preseason, but usually what is of note is who didn’t travel, or if unexpected names are on the list. Literally the entire first team roster is accounted for, including Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido who are rehabbing from surgery.
Felipe Hernandez is listed. Last we knew he had applied for reinstatement from the league from his suspension. It’s possible, even if that’s not been granted, he’s still able to train with the team.
In addition, there are nine non-rostered players there. Both members (yes, there are only two) of Sporting KC II made the journey as CB Aljaz Dzankic and midfielder Jahon Rad are present. The team also invited both 2022 Super Draft picks, Esai Easley and Brett St. Martin, who could be fighting for first teams spots but are possibly more likely to end up on the second team. Three SKC Academy members are making the trip in Coby Jones, Michael Lenis and Ryan Reid. Jones and Lenis featured for SKC II in 2021.
We know less about Reid, other than that he joined the SKC Academy at 12 and is a KC native. He featured in the documentary about the Academy from the beginning of 2021.
“I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of it because I’ve played here since U-12,” Reid said. “Because they’re always bringing in players, I know what they’re looking for, so I just see that as another advantage that I have... I know what they want and how we want to play.”
The surprise names on the list include one we recognize and one that is a new name. First, Spencer Glass is listed. He is rumored to be signing with Sporting KC II and we did a profile on him previously. The new name entirely is Ethan Bandre. He is a GK who recently finished college with Northwestern University. It’s possible he’s also being looked at for a SKC II spot. Bandre is a Salina, Kansas native who also played for Pacific University, where former SKC draft pick Camden Riley went.
Anything to Read Into the Roster?
Overall, nothing major. All the guys that we expected are there because the entire first team is there. It even seems logical that Pulido and Kinda would come rehab in AZ since the training staff is presumably all travelling as well.
The real insights are from the second team. Glass coming seems to confirm he’s signing, but nothing is official until it’s announced. Bandre coming could mean he could be the rostered SKC II GK outside of first team loans and any Academy players coming up. Additionally, agreements must not have been reached with Enoch Mushagalusa and Isaiah LeFlore yet, who were previously in negotiation with the team. It’s entirely possible those negotiations are ongoing and The Blue Testament will reach out to confirm.
Update 5:54 PM CST: We have confirmed with the team that Enoch Mushagalusa and Isaiah LeFlore are not returning to SKC II next season. If LeFlore is going to college, which wasn’t indicated, he could always be a future Homegrown signing and we know the team at least wanted him on SKC II.
Enoch Mushagalusa and Isaiah LeFlore will not be returning to #SportingKC II for 2022.— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) January 17, 2022
That's a bit of disappointing news as it felt like they could be on the edge of first team contracts. #MLSNextPro
On a personal note, I’m travelling to Arizona both to visit family/friends and to hopefully watch and cover some Sporting KC soccer. I’ll report back when I have an update on access or streaming of games. Stay with The Blue Testament throughout preseason.