It’s a weird time here at The Blue Testament but know we’re going to keep covering all of Kansas City soccer, and we’ll let you know when we know what’s next for all of us and where you can find that coverage if anything changes.
In the meantime, let’s get to the news.
Sporting KC Play Chivas and Cincinnati in Leagues Cup
The Leagues Cup is changing drastically in 2023. No longer is it a second-tier competition to the CONCACAF Champions League where a limited number of MLS teams enter and blow off the competition, but instead the entire league is joining (hopefully to take it seriously). The season shuts down for a month from July 21st through August 19th and each team is guaranteed at least two games (more on the Leagues Cup).
Now we know who those two games will be against for Sporting Kansas City. They drew Chivas Guadalajara and FC Cincinnati. They will host Chivas, the former club of Alan Pulido, and then head on the road to Cincy for the other game. All the games are in the United States, so FC Cincinnati as the higher seeded team from 2022 will host both of their initial games.
Read our prior coverage on the Leagues Cup for a deeper dive into the format and the official schedule will be released in the future. Peter Vermes was asked about the draw and the competition in Friday’s press availability.
“The fact that we are stopping our league play for the actual competition, I like it,” said Peter Vermes. “It’s very forward thinking by MLS and Liga MX to come into this partnership and relationship to creating this tournament. I think it’s incredibly innovative and we’re excited as an organization to participate.”
Pulido spoke on the chance to play his former team as well.
MLS Rule Changes — Part I
Major League Soccer are known for their bizarre rules. Never put it past them to announce more changes before the season starts, but they announced one this week and maybe snuck another in to facilitate moving a superstar.
First, they announced the death of the Allocation Order (don’t worry, the Allocation Disorder podcast will continue). This was a mechanism that placed players on a list to re-enter the league who had left on transfer fees north of $500,000. It also included select USMNT and youth US players.
Since the asset of being at the top of the list is valuable and has led to teams like Cincinnati collecting boatloads of General Allocation Money (another funny MLS rule), St. Louis City SC will get the right of first refusal over one player of their choosing since they were on top of the list.
In terms of impact to Sporting KC, there is nothing overt right now. Sporting were the highest on the list they had been in years as the result of their poor 2022 finish, but now it’s all null. In the future, if a player like Gianluca Busio wanted to come back, maybe SKC would have an advantage and not need to be at the top.
However, one silly rule takes its place that was already on the books. Teams are still required to place players on their Discovery List. They can place up to seven and there are tons of restrictions per the 2022 rules (2023 comes out before the first day of the season). When Sporting KC were linked to signing Cristiano Ronaldo, they had to put him on their list. They “discovered” him...
It’s essentially designed to stop MLS teams from bidding against one another to control costs. One dumb rule dies and another gain even more importance.
MLS Rule Changes — Part II
Another “rule change” may have snuck under the radar. If you haven’t been following the saga between Josef Martinez, Atlanta United and Inter Miami CF, the move was made official this week of Martinez landing in South Beach.
Atlanta basically had to execute their one offseason buyout on Josef because they couldn’t trade him to Miami as they can’t take on another DP and Martinez had a no-trade clause. Instead, he won’t count as a DP with Atlanta because of the buyout, but Miami will pick up some of his compensation ATL would have owed him.
This is where it gets weird. If he’s just straight “waived” any team could have gotten him and many more were higher up the waiver list (remember SKC got Danny Flores last week technically through waivers). So instead, he was “re-assigned.”
Was Josef Martinez waived by Atlanta United? A league source clarified:— Felipe Cárdenas (@FelipeCar) January 18, 2023
"The player was given the opportunity to explore re-assignment within MLS and speak to other MLS clubs. He elected to be re-assigned to Inter Miami CF." pic.twitter.com/YWJM3yb4eP
Oh MLS, so stupid but of course they make things happen for their star players and big teams. That goes back to the rumored rule change of allowing intra-league transfers. So convenient in the same season the LA Galaxy are banned from making external moves that require an international transfer certificate this summer.
- Former KC Current forward Darian Jenkins retired after her six-year NWSL career.
- Jonathan Tannenwald is advocating for the dissolution of the NWSL draft. With the draft being so important in women’s soccer still, I’m of two minds. I get it from a player movement perspective, but it’s hard to imagine the biggest teams wouldn’t benefit the most, which I’m not for. Then again, the KC Current have one of the best stadium/training situations in the league, so maybe I should advocate for the advantage this may give them?
- MLSsoccer.com put together a list of the MLS players who could command big transfer fees in the future. No Sporting KC players made the list.
- Goal.com has a list of transfers in the January window for all the MLS teams.
- I’ll end with a sad note. Charlotte FC’s Anton Walkes tragically passed away earlier this week in a boating accident. Our thoughts go out to Walkes’ family, and everyone impacted.