(Editorial)- Last year, Sporting Kansas City made use of the free agent market. They didn’t really make good use, as Justin Mapp was almost useless and Brad Davis just didn’t have the legs to play in Peter Vermes’s system. Now, Vermes has stated his intentions with this transfer window. They need help in the attack (a second striker and a winger or two would be nice), and they really need another central midfielder. Who are some guys that Sporting could target in MLS Free Agency?
Five Free Agents Sporting Kansas City Need to Target
Let’s clear a few things up to get started: Sporting KC should not limit themselves to JUST a central midfielder and some attack help. They also will definitely look to add another Designated Player. They can, thanks to the allocation money that MLS continues to infuse to the league. They could buy down a contract and add another designated player. But, if they have the opportunity to improve the club in depth or other positions, they should definitely look to that.
These five free agents will come in order of “would be nice to add” to “Almost a must add.” So here we go:
Magee would be an intriguing add. He has been all over the place in MLS, and Kansas City just might be able to give him some stability. He is getting up their in age, but he showed his knack for scoring in Los Angeles this year. Magee would be a very good add as a wide midfielder. Frankly, Magee is a replacement/upgrade for Jacob Peterson if Sporting decide not to bring him back. He’d definitely be more expensive than Peterson, but they’d definitely be paying a fair amount for a jump in quality.
Marvell Wynne has been really good, everywhere, throughout his MLS career. Wynne was originally brought in to play right back with San Jose, but through injuries, Wynne played the majority of his 2016 at center back. Oddly enough, he averaged nearly the same “game score” from Whoscored.com as Nuno Coelho. The thing with Wynne though is that he’s a better passer, he’s stronger, and faster than Coelho. Overall he would be an upgrade and would definitely force Kevin Ellis to be more consistent. The other plus is that he can be used as more than just a centerback. You can put him at right back and he’d be equally as good, if not better. Saad Abdul-Salaam had one of the most underrated 2016 seasons of anyone in MLS. Wynne wouldn’t be able to replace him at right back, but you now have one guy that can play a backup role at both center back and right back. Paying one guy to do both jobs instead of two guys is something Sporting might want to think about.
Oduro would be an incredible add to the team. It would put Roger Espinoza back into the central midfield, and you could either have him come off the bench for Zusi or whoever else they have on the wing. One of the biggest things they’ve missed in their 4-3-3 has been the ability to get behind the backline around the edge. Sporting likes to hold in and take their time while applying pressure with the ball. A lot of teams get stuck in deep on them. The ability to break down a team with his speed, and get around the fullbacks and play in square balls to Dwyer and others would be a huge addition. If they can’t land a DP winger, he has to be option B.
Ok, so Will Johnson is somebody who likely frustrated the Sporting KC fan base during his time with the Timbers. Most people hate him if he’s not on their team. He fights for the ball constantly, pressures unrelentlessly, can thread a pass between your backline, and is incredibly vocal in doing all of it. He’s honestly the perfect fit for the Peter Vermes setup in central midfield. He actually reminds me of Paulo Nagamura, a lot. Peter Vermes would love to have Johnson playing for him and this would be a massive pickup for Sporting KC. I could almost see him unseating Soni Mustivar in the midfield, and would have no problem with that. Mustivar is very good, but the experience and leadership that could come from Johnson is something that the “cover guy” in the midfield needs.