Kansas City– Sporting KC announced the signing of free-agent defender Ben Sweat. Primarily a left-back, the 30-year-old will bring plenty of MLS experience to a position in which he is the only player on the current Sporting KC roster. Sweat’s deal is a two-year contract with an option for 2024.
Sporting KC signs Ben Sweat
Sweat missed all but two games of the 2021 season with Austin FC. He tore his ACL in the club’s first win in history over Colorado, and ended up on the Season-Ending Injury list. Austin FC declined his contract option at the end of the season, and Sweat entered free agency.
“I’m very excited to be joining Sporting KC,” Sweat said. “This is a winning club and organization that is a top team in the League every year. I want to come to Kansas City, work my hardest for the fans and put some silver on my shelves.”
The defender got his start with the Columbus Crew in 2014, where he was drafted 14th overall. After not making a single MLS Regular Season appearance with the Crew, he was waived and subsequently joined the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He was a trialist with NYCFC ahead of the 2017 season, and then signed to a one-year deal. He made an instant impact notching a career-best 1 goal and 6 assists. NYCFC signed him to a multi-year deal that offseason and played with “The Pigeons” through the 2019 season. Sweat was selected in the 2020 expansion draft, by Inter Miami, and traded to Austin FC for their inaugural season.
Austin FC had a lot of hope for their inaugural season but failed to really make the impact they wanted. Injuries and uncertainty along the backline didn’t help, especially when their attack never seemed to truly gel together. Sweat was part of those injuries on the backline after he sustained a torn ACL in their 3-1 first ever club win over the Colorado Rapids.
Sporting KC needs a left-back on the roster. When you have to build a position up by itself on the depth chart, you smartly need to add experience. Sweat tore his ACL in April, and the 6-9 month recovery time should see him be ready to enter pre-season ready to go, if not a couple of weeks of buildup on the side. The big question that remains for Sporting KC is whether or not he is Plan A or Plan B.
They will have to bring in another left-back. He is an experienced veteran and an acquisition that requires no investment outside of salary. One could assume that Sporting might search outside the league for a Plan A or a strong developmental piece that is also a plan A type player in the future. They have yet to use the U-22 initiative, and doing so to fill out the depth chart in a position that already has veteran league experience would make sense. We’ll really know the answer though when we see who they bring in as their next left-back signing.