2022. The tale of two teams. One that struggled massively without two designated players and then one that had massive success with the addition of two newcomers, Erik Thommy and Willy Agada.
The season ended with most Sporting Kansas City fans feeling very mixed emotions. Most were understandably disappointed with the fact that the team had started the year so badly and were therefore unable to make it into the playoffs. However, there was also a sense of excited anticipation. The team had finished the season playing very well and left fans feeling like things were in a very good place for 2023.
So, going into the new season, what has changed? Do we have reasons to believe that the optimism at the end of last season is warranted? Let’s break down what has happened with the team since the close of the 2022 season.
- The end of season roster announcements revealed that the team had exercised options on midfielder Cam Duke, defender Kortne Ford and goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. They signed midfielder Felipe Hernandez, forward Khiry Shelton and goalkeeper Tim Melia to new contracts and declined options for defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Kaveh Rad (and technically Graham Zusi).
- In October, Sporting announced the signing of defensive midfielder, Nemanja Radoja. The Serbia native signed a three-year contract through 2025 and an option for 2026. Radoja will occupy an international spot on the 2023 roster.
- In December, the team announced that Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza and Andreu Fontas had all been re-signed. Both Zusi and Espinoza have a one year contract and a 2024 option and Fontas signed a two-year deal.
- In January, Sporting announced the signing of German left back Tim Leibold. Leibold signed a three year contract through 2025 with an option for 2026. Leibold will occupy and international roster spot for 2023.
- Also in January it was announced that Uri Rosell was waived by the club.
- Later in January the team announced the signing of midfielder Danny Flores. Flores has a contract for the 2023 season with options for 2024, 2025 and 2026.
As of the publication of this article the team has played four of the five scheduled preseason matches in Arizona.
- The preseason competitive action started on January 21 with a match against Portland Timbers. Sporting lost that match-up 0-1.
- On January 28, the team played against Grand Canyon University. In a pretty mismatched game, Sporting scored eight goals while holding GCU scoreless. Willy Agada scored twice, Marinos Tzionis scored twice, Shaun Joash, Danny Flores and Jake Davis all added a goal and one was scored on a GCU own goal.
- On February 4 Sporting squared off with Louisville City FC in midweek action. After Louisville took a 2-0 lead, Sporting was able to comeback and end the game 2-2 off of two second half goals by Remi Walter.
- The team went up against Real Salt Lake on February 8. The match ended in a 2-2 with goals from Johnny Russell and Willy Agada.
The team will return to Arizona for one more match on February 18 against Phoenix Rising FC before playing their first regular season action on Saturday February 25 against the Portland Timbers.
- It was previously announced that Sporting Kansas City would be participating in League’s Cup, a tournament between Major League Soccer and Liga MX, in 2023. We learned in January that Sporting will be in a group with FC Cincinnati and Chivas Guadalajara. Sporting KC will host Chivas and will play at Cincinnati. The tournament will take place from July 21-August 19.
- The new 2023 primary jersey will be dropped on February 16. The kit will be available for purchase at 10:00am that morning.
- All MLS action will be shown on Apple TV+ this year through their new service MLS Season Pass. The new MLS platform officially began on February 1st. Some interesting and very well-done Sporting KC content is already available for viewing. The MLS Season Pass costs $14.99 a month of $99.99 for the season ($12.99 and $79.99 if you already have Apple TV+ or try this hack) and will broadcast every MLS match with no blackouts.