On Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced that the club “has mutually agreed to terminate the contract of midfielder Jose Mauri.” This may come as a surprise to many who presumed he was already out of the club when Peter Vermes shocked everyone at media day stating they were parting ways.
In a recent media availability, The Blue Testament asked Vermes why he was still on the roster and it was confirmed that they were looking for a way to remove him from the roster that gave them flexibility. Basically, if they just cut him, they are on the hook for his at least $660,000 salary.
What it Means for Sporting KC
It’s unclear if this separation gives the team any salary relief. TBT has reached out to the team for comment but haven’t heard back at time of publication. This story will be updated with that reply.
Update: The team has told TBT that the move, “frees up the cap space that Mauri’s salary occupied.”
What this release does do is frees up both an international roster spot (SKC had used all of theirs) and a senior roster spot. So the team, within whatever budget space remains, can add a player. Removing Mauri from the roster means there is a need a defensive midfielder as it was thought a combination of Mauri and Uri Rosell would replace Ilie Sanchez, who moved on to LAFC after SKC declined his option at the end of 2021.
Remi Walter has also put in time at the #6 spot since Rosell went down hurt and the fracturing with Mauri began. Even last game, in a surprise sub after Rosell was a late scratch, Roger Espinoza played in this spot. It’s probably a spot that is still looking for a starter, though if Rosell gets healthy he has a leg up on the competition.
The team also has needs in other parts of the field, particularly the attack. At striker they are without Alan Pulido, so they signed Nikola Vujnovic who arrived after the season began. Neither he nor Khiry Shelton have taken the spot and made it their own yet, for different reasons. Shelton has dealt with injuries and has long been ineffective at scoring but this year is finding himself struggling to help get his teammates on the board. Vujnovic simply hasn’t had much time to get settled in and could still be the answer short-term.
Another possible position of need is winger. The team is very thin on the wing with just Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell and Marinos Tzionis likely listed there on the depth chart. Shelton should probably be there too but is needed in the middle and other players like Cam Duke, Graham Zusi, Ozzie Cisneros or others could be used out wide in a pinch.
Jose Mauri will have come and gone without many fans ever learning his name. He was a midseason acquisition in 2021 and played in nine games, with eight starts. He had a goal and an assist in his 605 minutes, but vanished back to the bench as the playoffs were approaching.
In 2022, he made one appearance in the opener against Atlanta United for a mere 27 minutes. He was so ineffective he was subbed back off, a rarity for a player who gets subbed on in a game.
The 34 second sequence that likely ended Jose Mauri’s career at #SportingKC … had a front row view, and be sure to watch Vermes’ reaction to both plays at #ATLUTD #Uniteandconquer @tombogert @sperrydaniel94 pic.twitter.com/S0hr68Vdrm— Kevin Killips (@mj25kk) March 2, 2022
It’s hard not to think his performance in that opener was the final straw, it’s just a shame the straw didn’t break before the season to make this all easier to deal with.