Sporting’s Goalkeeper Depth is League’s Best

Depth has been an important part of KC’s success
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, December 30, 2013

John Hefti Photography - SKC, Sporting KC

Sporting KC’s trade for goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum seemed to spell departure for long-time back-up Eric Kronberg. The 30-year-old Kronberg has been a member of the team since 2006, but has only made 5 MLS appearances.

But Kronberg was rather unexpectedly named starting goalkeeper by SKC manager Peter Vermes last weekend. Finally, after having backed up 2 of MLS’s best in Kevin Hartman and Jimmy Nielsen, the starting role is Kronberg’s to lose.

Kronberg certainly still has a job to win all the same, as Gruenebaum had a standout year in Columbus and will fight for the starting job this offseason. Last season with the Crew, Gruenebaum allowed only 28 goals, the same number that Nick Rimando did for MLS Cup runner-ups Real Salt Lake last year. While Kronberg was solid in CONCACAF Champions League starts, his role as a starting goalkeeper will be interesting to assess.

Depth is something Sporting has relied on during the 2013 season, but the team’s rock in goal, Nielsen, never missed a game. Sporting also lost a vital captain role when Nielsen retired. Now, SKC will be much younger without a veteran captain like Nielsen. Matt Besler, 26, will likely wear the armband next season. The dynamic of Sporting’s locker room will certainly be changed with a goalkeeper who, although familiar, has not been put between the sticks on a permanent basis in a long time.

In other offseason news, forward Dom Dwyer is known to be on trial with Charlton Athletic. Dwyer will likely sign with Charlton and return to England if the trial goes well. However, he may simply be training with Charlton without the possibility of being signed. Kei Kamara trained with Stoke City in last year’s offseason, but any speculation of a move was eliminated when it was revealed he was only training with them.

Word from Sporting’s president and CEO Robb Heineman via Twitter is that Sporting’s scouting adventure in Europe is that a new development has been made in signing a player. Heineman tweeted 3 days ago:

MLS’s very short offseason always brings many surprises and stories, but Sporting’s objectives this time around are increasingly important given the players they might lose.

NEXT UP: March 8 – Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. 3 p.m. EST, NBCSN.


Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.