It’s getting a bit hard to keep up with everything that is happening, so Blue Notes is our attempt to highlight some points around Kansas City soccer. Let’s go!
Pulido Negotiating an Extension?
There have been plenty of rumors that Alan Pulido is being linked to a move back to Chivas in Liga MX, something Pulido previously addressed, and a few more have popped up in the past week on that subject.
However, one story of note was that Pulido had been offered a contract extension from Sporting Kansas City. Per Google Translate, “Sporting KC is already in renewal talks with the Mexican striker and they are on the right track.” ‘Kery’ seems reputable having worked for many large media outlets over the years.
El contrato de Alan Pulido termina en diciembre del 2023. Sporting KC está ya en pláticas de renovación con el delantero mexicano y van por muy buen camino. Si a Chivas le interesa, deberá negociar la compra con el Sporting de KC ya que no es libre.— Kery (@KeryNews) February 18, 2023
Alan has missed over half of all the games he could have appeared in with SKC. With the emergence of Willy Agada last season, it’ll be interesting to see if Pulido sticks around and what that would cost. It would be a shame to lose him for nothing. He can sign a pre-contract out of MLS as early as this summer.
Speaking of those Pulido Transfer Rumors
That same report is being used to say Chivas’s board wants to bring Pulido back to Mexico now with Jose Juan Macias out for most of the next year (remember when he was rumored to come to KC last year). They say an attractive offer could pry Pulido away from SKC. Considering Sporting paid a reported $9.5 million to get Pulido from Chivas ahead of the 2020 season, but he can sign a pre-contract this summer, it’s hard to know how “attractive” the offer would need to be.
Despite one source saying they might want to buy Pulido; another is saying they will stand pat through the spring season.
If you missed last week’s presser, Peter Vermes talked about the Robert Castellanos signing (though not by name as it hadn’t been announced), but then he said, “we’re still working on some other things as well.” So presumably that means another signing is happening (or perhaps a trade of the glut of left backs on the roster).
He goes on to say, “we’re still looking for some other situations as well” after saying there aren’t enough CBs on the roster and one (Castellanos) would be announced soon.
Vermes went on to talk about:
- Yeison Mejia and his qualities and how being on the second team will give him time to develop without as much pressure.
- Logan Ndenbe is out with a hamstring injury
- Khiry’s best place is out wide and he’s recovered from his “knock” in preseason
KC Current Preseason Schedule
The Kansas City Current are about to play their first of four preseason games. It appears only the first will be open to the public, but there is no indication if the game will be streamed in some way (I wouldn’t hold my breath).
- Feb. 23 - Orlando Pride - 5:30pm CT (Exploria Stadium – Orlando, Florida)
- Feb. 27 - Chicago Red Stars - 10:00am CT (Bradenton, Florida)
- Mar. 8 - Houston Dash - 12:00pm CT (San Diego, California)
- Mar. 11 - San Diego Wave FC - 2:00pm CT (San Diego, California)
SKC II Preseason Schedule
Already underway, Sporting KC II have launched into preseason (sorry, I was on vacation when this came out). They lost their first game to Union Omaha (USL League One) 3-2 this past weekend. They still have four more announced games.
- Saturday, March 4 - 1 p.m. CT - FC Tulsa (USL Championship) [Tulsa, OK]
- Monday, March 6 - 3 p.m. CT - Richmond College [Dallas, TX]
- Thursday, March 9 - 9 a.m. CT - North Texas SC (MLS NEXT Pro) [Dallas, TX]
- Saturday, March 18 - 2 p.m. CT - Kansas City Roos Men’s Soccer (Summit League) [Kansas City, MO]
As a part of this schedule release, the team announced their preseason roster which does not include Esai Easley or Curtez Kellman, who were in negotiations at the end of the season. All 16 rostered players are listed, plus six trialists and six SKC Academy members.
- Koby Carr
- Sebastian Cruz
- Tarek Mahmoud Eldaly
- Daniel Espeleta
- Roman Knox
- Lucas Rosa
SKC Academy Members
- Kai Auvray
- Jacob Bartlett
- Nati Clarke
- Matthew Fisher
- Carlito Saylon
- Cielo Tschantret
New MLS Playoff Format
The league finally announced their 2023 playoff format, just days before the start of the season. The fast and quick version:
- 18 teams make it in (ugh!)
- The 8th and 9th seeds in each conference play a “wildcard” game to make it into the first round (8th seed hosting)
- In round one, the remaining 16 teams play best-of-three series
- Round 1: No extra time and no ties. Straight to PKs if tied after 90 minutes. The first team to win two games advances
- Single Elimination with extra time and PKs after (if needed) for the remainder of the playoffs
I’m on the record as hating this. The wild card I guess is a little better than when I thought the first seed had a horribly long bye, but the playoffs weren’t broke, and this just devalues the regular season.
The US Open Cup Twitter admin and I are on the same page.
Single-elimination— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) February 21, 2023
Live it, love it
Kaw Valley Not in League Two?
USL League Two released their re-aligned divisions and noticeably absent was Kaw Valley FC who typically played in the Heartland Division. There are no posts on any of their social media or website but perhaps the team is taking the year off? Some Tweets seem to imply they’ve dissolved, but there is nothing official.
- Unsurprisingly Nemanja Radoja has been rated the most important offseason signing for Sporting KC by MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert.
- Speaking of the league’s site, Matt Doyle updated his depth chart for each team, including SKC, and he fixed a lot of the depth mistakes he has in prior versions. He’s got Thommy and Walter flipped for which side I suspect they’ll be on, but on the whole, it looks pretty good.
- Inter Miami banned The Athletic from media day. Not a good look.
.@MLSist and I were informed today that Inter Miami banned The Athletic from its media day event because they disagreed with the timing and framing of our coverage over the weekend.— Felipe Cárdenas (@FelipeCar) February 21, 2023
I'm disappointed this is the action they've taken and I stand by our coverage.
- Indy Eleven (USL Championship) released a very pretty stadium renderings with a groundbreaking scheduled for May.
- The Julian Araujo transfer to FC Barcelona finally went through after 14 days of being in limbo. Good for him.
- The San Jose Earthquakes Cade Cowell has links to tons of European giants including Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Juventus and new Saudi-backed powerhouse Newcastle United.
Several European teams are currently eyeing Cade Cowell- Newcastle and Bayern Munich expressed interest, but Serie A’s Milan and Juventus stand as frontrunners to land the player.— Lizzy Becherano (@lizzy_becherano) February 17, 2023
For @90min_Football with @GraemeBailey https://t.co/N9f02yVU58
- This is sort of a wild graphic.
There are no currently no teams in the #USLW beneath this line.— Theo Lloyd-Hughes (@theolloydhughes) February 14, 2023
Apologies for any inaccuracies, there could be a couple of clubs that sneak in below the line, but this is a rough estimate of U.S. lower division (DIII) Woso. pic.twitter.com/1JuXBCif8v