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Sporting KC Add a Center Back; Chris Rindov from Maryland

Rindov is a second-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft.

COLLEGE SOCCER: SEP 28 Rutgers at Maryland
Rutgers University midfielder Ola Maeland (17) grabs the shirt of University of Maryland defender Chris Rindov (18) during a college soccer match between the Maryland Terrapins and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on September 28, 2021, at Ludwig Field, in College Park, Maryland.
Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve been talking about it all offseason and Sporting Kansas City finally added a center back. Though it might not be the one you were expecting. The club announced the signing of second-round SuperDraft pick Chris Rindov on Friday. The 21-year-old was selected 37th overall back in December and had been in preseason camp with the first team.

He is the first draft pick to sign a first team deal since both first-round picks in 2018 (Eric Dick and Graham Smith) were signed. He’s the first player not selected in the first round to sign since James Ansu Rogers in 2015 and the first second rounder since Cyprian Hedrick in 2012. Neither player ever appeared in a game.

Rindov’s contract is guaranteed through 2023 with option years all the way through 2026.

How Does He Fit with SKC?

As I laid out yesterday in my story, “Three Sporting KC Roster Construction Problems Needing Solving,” the club needed to add a CB. They were down two from 2022 with Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Kaveh Rad both gone. You would assume Rindov would be at or near the league minimum in pay as a second-round pick and would be slotted firmly into fourth on the depth chart.

The team is running out of roster spots, but I can’t rule out that they still need to make a move at CB. Peter Vermes has said that new defensive midfielder signing, Nemanja Radoja, can play center back, but he hasn’t played in a minute of the first four preseason games and seemingly the team plans to play him in his natural spot when he does get on the field.

Sporting KC allowed in 54 goals in 2022 so it’s hard to see how this fixes it. That said, Kortne Ford and Andreu Fontas didn’t play together hardly at all, so maybe that (or Robert Voloder being a starter) is the plan. Regardless, if the team scores more goals and holds onto the ball better, that should limit the chances the defense has to faulter.

I personally hope Rindov is a big hit, but the jump from a short college soccer season to being a regular in Major League Soccer isn’t one that many players make quickly. My expectations are low, but I hope to be proven wrong.