Earlier this week, I made the case that Sporting Kansas City need to sign a striker. Friday was the first chance that the media got to talk to Peter Vermes since then about making a move before the Primary Transfer Window closes on May 4th.
When asked questions about transfers, Vermes is pretty coy. It’s pretty standard that he gives an answer eluding to ‘always trying to make the team better.’ Today the answer felt like it was going that way, then it took a bit of a turn.
The Blue Testament asked: “The primary transfer window closes on May the 4th, does the team currently have any deals that are in the works?”
“My same answer is the truth and the reality,” began Vermes. “We’re always working on deals. Hopefully you can get one done, if you can’t you’ve got to go to the next window. We’re actively pursuing different options but they have to work out in many different ways. We’re working on it.”
That answer has hints of generic, but maybe there is something there. The team is 2-6-0 after all. The last time the team was spiraling in a season was 2019 and they made a move to bring back now SKC II head coach Benny Feilhaber. It didn’t work out, but it was hardly Benny’s fault.
Plus the comment about “you’ve got to go to the next window” isn’t as negative as it seems because that window is from July 7th to August 4th. That’s about two and a half months though and a lot could change by then. I don’t want Sporting KC to get desperate, but I do think they should be actively shopping. Other teams are.
Zardes Traded to Colorado
The Colorado Rapids and Saturday’s opponent, the Columbus Crew, made their third trade in the last couple years. This time, $300,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) was dealt to the Crew for Gyasi Zardes, who is in a contract year.
Sources tell ESPN that #Crew96 has agreed terms with #Rapids96 to trade Gyasi Zardes to Colorado for initial outlay of $300k in 2022 GAM, though amount could increase if incentives met. Zardes had to waive no trade clause to get deal done. Deal still needs league approval.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) April 22, 2022
Reports are that number can rise to $1.25 million in GAM, which is partially contingent upon Zardes extending his contract with Colorado and other performance incentives.
I can now confirm @JeffreyCarlisle’s report that #Crew96 has a verbal agreement in place to trade Gyasi Zardes to #Rapids96. Deal not done yet. The Black & Gold will receive $300k in GAM and up to $1.25 million based on incentives. (1/2)— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) April 22, 2022
A lot of Sporting KC fans probably would probably have been happy if they could swing the deal for Zardes. While he is a Designated Player, it’s in name only. He made $1.4 million in 2021, so he is technically a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) player (under $1.6125m) and could be bought down, which would be important because SKC have their three DPs (Pulido, Kinda, Russell) and probably can’t buy down two, which would be necessary to keep their three U-22s.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Zardes could have fit into SKC’s cap because the Rapids jumped on the move first (but frankly we don’t know how much GAM/TAM they have in their coffers).
The move to Colorado does make you wonder if Colorado’s forwards are available.
Diego Rubio Reunion?
I’m a big Rubio guy. I was upset — to the point of writing an 11 point story about it — when he was dealt to Colorado in a move that landed Kelyn Rowe and $300k of xAM back to KC. Obviously that deal didn’t work out for Sporting with Rowe gone to the Seattle Sounders for nothing and Rubio playing fairly well in Colorado (though he’s not been great).
In fact, Rubio is the team’s leading scorer with four of the team’s nine goals in 2022. He’s having his best season since the year he arrived. It’s also likely Colorado want to play both Rubio and Zardes together, as the KC Star’s Sperry pointed out to bring me down on Twitter.
Their formation calls for two strikers, and the nature of the two (Rubio and Zardes) means they'd complement each other. Let alone them actually attempting to help a conference foe they probably see as wounded? Never happening. But you're allowed to dream— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) April 22, 2022
It’s a shame because Rubio’s contract is affordable ($630,000 in 2021) and he’s a system fit. His best year was as a super-sub for KC, but I think he could combine exceedingly well with Russell, Salloi, Tzionis and Kinda (when he returns).
Well, if not Rubio, who probably doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Alan Pulido in 2023 anyways, then who?
Andre Shinyashiki is Available
The other striker on the Rapids roster, who also plays left wing at times, is in a contract year and apparently has been a person of interest around the league. Tom Bogert reports that “numerous MLS teams have called and made offers for Colorado Rapids forward Andre Shinyashiki. All advances have been rejected so far for the former Rookie of the Year.”
Sources: Numerous MLS teams have called and made offers for Colorado Rapids forward Andre Shinyashiki. All advances have been rejected so far for the former Rookie of the Year.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) April 22, 2022
Assume with the Zardes acquisition, this may accelerate. Shinyashiki has made one start this year.
If they can get a haul for him when he can just leave for free after the season or sign a pre-contract as early as the summer, they have to look at that. I haven’t watched enough of Shinyashiki to know if he’s a system fit. His career high in goals is only seven (Shelton’s is five for the record), but he’s never been a consistent starter. Maybe he doesn’t have the skill to be.
Do you expect Sporting KC to make a move? If a move is made in MLS, is there a player you’d target? Let’s discuss in the comments.