It’s been a bit and quite a lot of information is floating around for Kansas City soccer that we wanted to draw attention to. Let’s get right into it.
Pulido Addresses Transfer “Rumor”
In an interview with 90min.com, Alan Pulido talked about a range of topics, but when you see the word transfer next to Sporting Kansas City’s most expensive transfer ever, your ears perk up. Presumably he was replying to a report he wanted to return to Liga MX and specifically Chivas Guadalajara.
“That possibility is never ruled out,” said Pulido. “Of course, I really enjoy this league [MLS]. All the infrastructure that the league manages, and the quality of life that they show you here in the United States is different, but I am never closed to any opportunity. Of course, I also take into account that my career began in Mexico, so going back there at a time for my retirement would not be bad.”
It doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere, but he’s out of contract after the 2023 season.
“For the moment I am enjoying being in Sporting Kansas City, I want to be champion in this league too, it is my ultimate dream and the purpose I set for myself when I came so hopefully, I can achieve it with Sporting KC,” Pulido added.
I’m holding out hope he’s fantastic in 2023 and gives a discount to KC and sticks around beyond that, but that implies he even beats out Willy Agada for the starting spot.
Sporting KC Kit Numbers Revealed?
In preseason my attention often turns to silly things like what number players are going to wear. Johnny Russell had a humorous take on Cristiano Ronaldo potentially taking his number. That didn’t come to fruition, but I noticed in preseason that Marinos Tzionis was wearing #77 and Tim Leibold was wearing #33.
Then, when I was playing around in the new Sporting KC app (because of those new Sporting Blue Rewards — check them out) I noticed several players had numbers listed that we didn’t previously know.
Playing around in the #SportingKC app and I noticed some kit number reveals (presumably these are right).— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) February 12, 2023
#6 - Nemanja Radoja
#14 - Tim Leibold
#31 - Danny Flores
#5 is open. Could go to Rindov or another CB signing. pic.twitter.com/L4h60Tecof
I don’t think this is definitive at all, but they have numbers for:
- #6 - Nemanja Radoja
- #14 - Tim Leibold
- #31 - Danny Flores
These could be placeholders, but Radoja makes sense as a defensive midfielder to wear #6. The other numbers are less conclusive, but Leibold has worn 14 previously. Flores wore 26 at Virginia Tech University, but that’s Erik Thommy’s number so I’m sure that was a non-starter. No one else appears to have another number listed (but you can’t rule out future changes).
Speaking of jerseys, this isn’t a leak, but there is a mockup over at Footy Headlines of a theoretical kit based on the known dark blue collar and button. I don’t love it, but it makes sense that if argyle was used, it’d need to be more subtle to account for sponsorships on the kit. It’s too subtle for me. That’d definitely just look Sporting Blue from a distance.
Kansas City 2023 Home Kit Collar, Shorts and Socks Leaked - Release on February 16: https://t.co/ivybAuyMU5— Footy Headlines (@Footy_Headlines) February 12, 2023
2025 Gold Cup to Kansas City?
According to Record, the 2025 Gold Cup may be a very interesting one. It’ll be the last major competition leading up to the 2026 World Cup being in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Because of that, those three countries are reportedly trying to work on inviting eight countries from around the world to the competition that is typically restricted to CONCACAF nations. That means two from UEFA (Europe), two from AFC (Asia and Australia), two from CAF (Africa) and two from CONMEBOL (South America).
Part of that rumor is that the 16 host cities, including Kansas City, would host the games. It would be great World Cup prep for all the future hosts, even if the scale would be much smaller. Plus, more soccer for us in KC!
More MLS Playoff Expansion
We talked about this on For the Glory KC recently, but it’s worth getting into words on The Blue Testament. The Athletic is reporting that MLS is considering going to an absurd 18 (!) teams in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. There were 14 teams in 2022 (seven per conference) and going to 18 (nine per conference) would put over 62 percent of the teams in the playoffs with St. Louis City SC climbing the number to 29 total teams in the league.
There isn’t much to be said about this. It’s stupid. It dilutes the playoffs and puts in teams that don’t deserve to be there. It also makes the regular season less important because you can be bad and still make the playoffs. If this were the format last year (and the Western Conference got no bigger because Nashville is headed East), then Sporting KC would have missed by a mere three points despite being abysmal for two-thirds of the season.
Even with SKC being terrible, they weren’t eliminated until 32 of 34 games passed last year. I suppose it’s more exciting to be in it the whole time, but it just creates a nearly meaningless regular season.
As always, all of this appears to be in the name of giving more games to Apple in the playoffs and keeping teams alive to sell regular season tickets. But if it’s for Apple, then why pay for MLS Season Pass during the regular season unless you are a sicko like me who has to watch every game? The games don’t matter, so start paying later in the season and save your money.
The season starts in under two weeks and it’s crazy this hasn’t been figured out yet.
Kortne Ford Out for the Season
David already covered this in his fantastic piece on options to replace Ford, but this site is an archive of all things SKC so it needed its own mention.
Kortne Ford unfortunately ruptured his Achilles tendon in the preseason draw with Real Salt Lake. He underwent surgery on Friday and will miss the entire 2023 season. That leaves the team with just three center backs (Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder and the newly signed Chris Rindov).
The team will surely place Ford on the season-ending injury list to clear his roster spot, though they may hold off on using whoever replaces him as a season-ending injury-replacement player since teams only get one and he doesn’t hit the salary max for that mechanism ($250,000 per the 2022 rules) that they could outlay for a replacement. They have until the end of the primary transfer window (April 24th) to make that move and could hold out in case someone more expensive gets injured.
- The Athletic landed an interview with new KC Current signing Hanna Glas.
- First round draft picks from the Kansas City Current, Michelle Cooper and Alexa Spaanstra, are going to represent their country for the US U-23 National Team from February 12th through 21st in Paris. They play France on February 17th and 20th.
- The KC Star’s Sam McDowell is reporting Pulido isn’t in full training yet but will be this week.
Sporting KC leaves Scottsdale tonight and returns next week. Peter Vermes says when the team returns, Alan Pulido will be ready to enter training. pic.twitter.com/kcx1TY2AEA— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) February 8, 2023
- Willy Agada, Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell having some fun breaking down all four goals against Minnesota United last season.
- I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but Kevin Lopez sits down and interviews former TBT staffer, Aly Trost Martin talking about her plans for 2023.
- This is a bit of a mess for Canada.
An update from the Canadian Soccer Players Association pic.twitter.com/hysGyanG5q— CanadianSoccerPlayers (@PlayersCanadian) February 12, 2023
- VAR is coming to the semifinals and finals of the US Open Cup. I understand for the smaller teams why it can’t be in the whole tournament but I’m in favor of getting things right which I’d contend VAR in MLS mostly does.
BREAKING NEWS: At the Jan. 6 @opencup committee meeting, it was unanimously approved to implement the use of VAR (instant replay) for the Semifinals and Final. More to come. #USOC2023— TheCup.us (@usopencup) February 7, 2023
- LA Galaxy versus LAFC in the season opener at the Rose Bowl is 75 percent sold out. That’s big for Major League Soccer.
NEWS: The #LAGalaxy have confirmed the Feb. 25th season opening El Trafico vs. #LAFC at the Rose Bowl is 75% sold out. Capacity is 90,888.— Mike Gray (@MikeGrayAFC) February 6, 2023
That number is close to the club record of 69,255 set in 1996 and puts LA within range of the #MLS attendance record. @TheStrikerNews pic.twitter.com/vwFVym5xgh
- Sporting KC’s “rival” Minnesota United will be without Emanuel Reynoso. Bebelo has been suspended without pay, I assume around some pretty serious accusations against him.
An update on the status of Emanuel Reynoso pic.twitter.com/WMcnG8IWpi— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) February 10, 2023
- I mentioned this on For the Glory KC last week (you are listening to my podcast, right?!?!), but Leo Messi may still yet come to Inter Miami CF.
Inter Miami remain in the Lionel Messi sweepstakes, it's ongoing. Nothing decided on his future yet. Miami remain confident.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) February 6, 2023
Messi, 35, is out of contract this summer. Has 10g/10a in 1,582 league mins with PSG this year, just won the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/Q5ZimTHdVJ
- Charlotte FC’s new kit apparently leaked. Purple? I don’t know the significance of that color for them, maybe it’s deeper than I know.
The Charlotte FC Kit is officially leaked!— TopBin90 (@Topbin90) February 9, 2023
- In another “how can this be within the MLS rules” move, Los Angeles FC are rumored to be getting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but Aubameyang seems to want to stay and fight for a spot on Chelsea.
- And I’m a sucker for a map. Here are the pro soccer teams by county in the United States.