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Sporting KC Announce Roster Moves with Some Surprises

11 players were potentially out of contract and a lot of them are coming back. However, a few are in limbo or gone.

Union Omaha v Sporting Kansas City
A hug goodbye?
Photo by Fernando Leon/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City had a deadline of announcing roster moves of November 14th. While those were probably turned into the league then, they were made public today, on the 15th. While 11 players were on the docket to have decisions made, the team in 2023 is going to look a lot like the team in 2022.

Here are the moves made today:

  • Options Declined: Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Graham Zusi, Kaveh Rad
  • Options Triggered: Came Duke, Kortne Ford, Kendall McIntosh
  • New Contracts: Felipe Hernandez, Khiry Shelton, Tim Melia
  • Currently Negotiating: Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas

Were There Any Surprises?

The biggest surprises are probably around Shelton, Melia and Zusi.

Starting with Graham, the team could have simply triggered his 2023 contract option and he’d be back for next year. Instead, they declined that option and are now negotiating. I’m not sure if this is for a longer deal or possibly a pay cut with all the time missed. The team has tried this in the past with players like Felipe Gutierrez who didn’t re-sign. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here, though I’d expect Zusi back.

Khiry Shelton is the biggest surprise as many fans thought he’d be gone (though not everyone did). Instead, it would appear the team declined his 2023 option and gave him a new deal. Perhaps they just renegotiated and got it done before the deadline, unlike Zusi who is still in negotiations. The fact that he’s back will shock some, but I doubt anyone expected him to be back through 2025 with an option for 2026. Three years... guaranteed. Especially after Vermes said the team was searching for a third striker. Maybe he only see’s Khiry on the wing going forward. The money on this deal will be very intriguing and it’s the only way to make it make sense.

The least surprising, but still a little bit, is a two-year deal for Tim Melia (through 2024). The goalkeeping competition is not settled quite yet. GKs do age differently than field players.

Additional Details

  • Felipe Hernandez earned a long-term extension as well with a contract through 2025 with an option for 2026.
  • With Isimat-Mirin’s contract option declined, he could enter the Re-Entry Process, which we broke down previously.
  • There are now 23 players under contract for 2023 of a possible 30.
  • If Zusi, Fontas and Espinoza re-sign, then that leaves just four open roster spots.

The Blue Testament will break down these moves further in the coming hours and days. Stay locked into the offseason schedule, with free agency starting tomorrow.