According to the Kansas City Star’s, Sam McDowell, Sporting Kansas City have reached agreement on deals for both Gerso Fernandes and Latif Blessing. We’ll take a look at who they are, and why that probably isn’t good enough for them to rest on their laurels for the remainder of the off season.
Sporting KC Get Gerso and Blessing, Is That Enough?
Sporting KC came on strong at the end of 2016, largely in part to their defense. They will continue to lament the fact that they couldn’t get a home-game for the postseason as a major reason why last season is looked upon as a failure. The reason for that? Not enough goal-scoring. Now, with one of their top three goal-scorers on the move to Atlanta, they are left with Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber as their only legitimate scoring threats. Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi have seen their prime years fall behind them, and with many other questions remaining about the attack, Sporting KC have made it a mission this off-season to find that secondary scoring option. Vermes has hinted multiple times that Sporting KC are looking to add a bit more speed to their attack, since most of their wide options are in the twilight of their careers.
While it hasn’t been officially announced by the club yet, Sam McDowell, their primary beat-reporter for the Kansas City Star, has reported that wingers Latif Blessing, and Gerso Fernandes have agreed to deals with Sporting. At first glance, the main question for most of you is, “Who the heck are these guys?” Well, let’s take a look
Is a winger from Guinea-Bissau that recently played his club soccer in Portugal. He spent a lot of his career at Estoril before moving to his recent club, Belenenses. He is primarily a left winger and a lot of his game resembles that of Dominic Oduro. He is extremely pacy, and has average finishing ability. Fernandes has scored a goal and notched four assists in his time with Belenenses this season. One thing that is intriguing from him is his defensive ability. He can play both ways as a winger, which is something that I’m sure Vermes loves. He is only 25, so he still has plenty of prime ability left in him.
Latif Blessing is quite the intriguing prospect. Blessing, only 20 years old, is a rising star in Ghana. At 19, he won Ghana’s first division “MVP”, bagging 17 goals. Blessing is quite intriguing mainly because of his age. His pace is exciting as well. African soccer is extremely physical, so I don’t think he’d have to much difficulty adjusting to the physicality of MLS. We’ll see what happens when the quality of his opponents jumps up tremendously. It’s no doubt the kid is good. He clearly is a head above the rest of the competition in the Ghanaian Premier League, so it would behoove him to jump up the level of competition and help his career trajectory. Most likely, you haven’t seen him play before. So here is a video package of what he can do:
Is This Enough?
The big question that remains here is if this is enough for Sporting KC to rest on their laurels for the rest of the off season. The quick and easy answer is no. It’s not. While their is a lot of promise in the youth of Blessing, and the ability of Gerso, there is still a major question mark as to whether they’ve accomplished their goal of adding more scoring options to the pack. I would love to see them add one more goal-scoring option, and have it be one that is proven in MLS. Usually that comes at a price, but there are sure to be some good options available around the league that would help them. Another area of need is definitely one more center-back, and another midfielder. Marvell Wynne fits the bill for center-back, and would be great because he can play right back as well.
The Bottom Line
While it seems like Sporting KC have addressed their lack of scoring options, the questions that remain over both signings are simply too much to ignore right now. If they really want to be taken seriously, they probably need to make another two or three additions that are proven entities in MLS, or the scope of global soccer for that matter.