Well, Sporting Kansas City’s 2022 season is pretty much over – two games still left to play (vs the Seattle Sounders, at FC Dallas) and most of it was pretty disappointing. Bright side is that Sporting are currently on a 6-game unbeaten run and will be going out as spoilers against Seattle, who are fighting for their lives for a spot into the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs and a FC Dallas side, who have already qualified, but are shooting for home playoff games. Let's take a dive into what we should all look at within the squad and what to expect for this offseason.
Under Contract for 2023
Currently there are 16 players under contract with Sporting KC. A few of them are entering their final year on their contracts with the team, but we can expect some of them to get new contracts or have their options extended. Here are the current 14 and how they faired this 2022 season.
GK John Pulskamp- He stepped up for Tim Melia when he went down with an injury and was impressive for most of it. Definitely needs some help with saving penalties.
LB Ben Sweat (final year on contract)- For most of 2022 Sweat was poor and frustrating to watch at times going forward and defending. He finally found his footing after Ndenbe was out for a couple weeks towards the end of the season. Safe to say he’ll be back in 2023
RB Kayden Pierre- The 19-year-old was called upon several times for longtime veteran Graham Zusi with injuries and was mildly impressive. Making 17 appearances and even getting an assist this season is a good stepping stone for the teenager.
LB Logan Ndenbe- The U22 initiative signing was a bit disappointing at times this season and never really put in a first team performance this season, but man is this guy FAST!
CB Robert Voloder- A U22 initiative signing, Voloder made 12 appearances with a goal and a red card in his first season. Lots of room for improvement for the youngster.
MID Uri Rosell- His second spell at Sporting KC has been a nightmare for the Spaniard. He’s entering his final year on his contract and honestly... most fans hope that he leaves a bit sooner.
MID Gadi Kinda- Kinda missed all of the 2022 season through injury and Sporting definitely missed his production and speed on the field. 2023 will be a lot of fun with him, Thommy, and Walter running the midfield together though!
MID Remi Walter- The Frenchman was called upon to play as the no. 6 in the team throughout the season and finally started to settle in the role back in August where Sporting started getting results. He’s also entering his final year on contract.
MID Erik Thommy- A REVELATION! Erik Thommy transformed this team by being excellent on both sides of the ball. 2023 will be even more fun with him starting with Kinda back in the mix.
MID Jake Davis- Made three appearances for a total of 14 minutes on the field. He will most likely still be on Sporting KC’s MLS Next Pro team next season unless he makes some major noise.
LW Daniel Salloi- New deal for Salloi until 2026? Yes please! Even though he had a major downfall season compared to last he was still extremely impactful! With a healthy team he should be able to explode again or at least put up another 10g/10a season.
RW Johnny Russell- The Captain carried the team for most of the season and began wearing down in the summer. He’s entering his final year on contract with a club option for 2024, but he will be 33-years-old in April and play most of the season at that age, but let's hope JFR beats father time.
CF William Agada- What a guy. An amazing player and person and a joy to watch! Currently as I am writing Agada has 7g/2a in 739 minutes in 10 games. He definitely has the starting role going into 2023.
CF Alan Pulido- Another injury this team for the entire season. With 33 games played and 14 goals produced the DP striker will be wanting to fight for his spot back in the starting XI
FWD Marinos Tzionis- The Cyprus winger showed lots of potential and his best game came against DC United on September 13th. He could be looking at more minutes in 2023 after only getting two goals in all comps (HE SHOULD HAVE AN ASSIST TOO!!)
MID Ozzie Cisernos- The 18-year-old didn’t feature this season (in league play), but he’s young and still has potential.
GK Tim Melia- Father time caught him this season making errors early on at the start of the season and missed most of the second half of the season with a hamstring injury. He may be 35-years-old but the former Goalkeeper of the Year is a leader in this team and I’m sure Vermes is keen to bring him back.
GK Kendall McIntosh- McIntosh made one appearance for Sporting and hey he had a decent game with some good saves and even got a shutout! He has an option for 2023 that could be triggered.
CB Andreau Fontas- Fontas sort of fell off the pace back in August of 2021 and it followed through 2022. He had a few solid games in 2022 towards the later stage of the season, but he’s getting older. He’s out of contract and on high wages. If Sporting want to bring him back for 2023, he’ll have to take a pay cut.
CB Nicolas Isimat-Mirin- Had a poor season and was supposed to be the guy that replaced Matt Besler after he left. Isi didn’t exactly live up to that side of expectations and it’s hard to see him making a return to Kansas City. He does have an extended option for 2023.
CB Koran Ford- Ford stepped into this team without playing a game in MLS for 4 years. He played in 15 games in competitions even grabbing a goal in the US Open Cup. He was suspended for ten games after testing positive for substance enhancing drug use. He has an option for 2023 and knowing Vermes, he will most likely give him that second chance.
RB Graham Zusi- He’s out of contract, but he has an option year for 2023. Now at 36-years-old, this will most likely be all up to Zusi and the club and fans would love for him to come back for the 2023 season.
CB Kaveh Rad- He didn’t feature this season with the first team and didn’t play particularly well with the MLS Next Pro team. He does have an option for 2023 and 2024.
MID Felipe Hernandez- Hernandez came into 2022 after being reinstated by the league, being cleared from a gambling addiction where sought out help from. Hernandez played 36 games in all comps. He has 4g/4a in those games, but his other products on the field are also decent. It'll be interesting to see if Vermes brings him back after having a decent season.
MID Cameron Duke- Duke had a good run in the 2021 season, but after a red card against Austin FC in July he's played only three games since. He has some good quality and had to play all over the field this season with the team having several injuries and suspensions. He does have an option for 2023 and it should be triggered unless Vermes doesn’t seem very impressed with him anymore.
MID Roger Espinoza- The destroyer in the midfield is 35 (will be 36 in October) and played a lot of minutes this season with the team filled up with injuries and he himself getting suspended for a few games. He doesn’t have an option for 2023. This could be the last time we see Roger at SKC or on the field for that matter.
FWD Khiry Shelton- I feel for him, but he didn’t have a good season. At all. He was the starting striker with Pulido out for the season and only managed a single goal that came against the depleted and eliminated DC United. It might be best for both parties to go their separate ways even with an option for 2023.
[Editor: What moves do you think the team should make? The rest of the TBT staff are working on a big piece breaking down which players should stay and which players should go that will be coming out in the coming days.]