Creativity, Inventiveness Seen in SKC Newbies

Determination in play is seen in a handful of new and young SKC players
by Katherine Rupp   |   Thursday, May 29, 2014

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

Sporting KC don’t have a problem with deploying players with little experience in their starting eleven, nor does the coaching staff have many doubts on the quality of players,  but rather with confidence, the Sporting Kansas City team goes forth with determination in their abilities and play.

There has been a lot said recently about the current injuries and the ongoing trials that Sporting KC continue to come up against – as of late, it is defender Chance Myers’ Achilles tendon that was ruptured and needs to undergo surgery to end his season, all the while Ike Opara also had surgery on his right ankle that is a season-ender, and Lawrence Olum playing with the Kenyan national team and Graham Zusi and Matt Besler with the US national team for the pre-World Cup camp and the World Cup in Brazil.

However many tribulations Sporting KC go through this year – and however cliché it may be – it is making the team stronger.

Against Red Bull New York, 2 men in particular made eyebrows perk up with excitement and intrigue. Igor Juliao had quite a few quality passes and crosses that could continue to make Sporting fans salivate with flashes of what the future may hold in the coming years of Kansas City’s defense. The fullback is able to push up the field with good pace as well as chippy tries on goal that show off just a bit of arrogance but also the certainty that comes with being on a team coached by Peter Vermes. Juliao, though he has only played in four games including the recent Red Bulls game, is only just 19 and has many more years ahead of him. Despite the fact that the Brazilian is on loan through 2014, if he keeps up his play as has been in the four games he has started in May, it looks like Juliao will have a solid role in the coming months in defense.

Toni Dovale, a product of the Barcelona academy who showed up to Kansas City in March of this year to become one of the many esteemed midfielders for Sporting KC, has shown in recent games – especially the match against the Red Bulls – how versatile and inventive he is. Dovale, similar to Juliao, has the speed and creativity that is needed with the gaps in the squad with the aforementioned injuries and international call-ups. The Spaniard also netted his first goal in MLS in the game against New York, and, Dovale – although he’s been an off-again, on-again starter – could see more consistent minutes with his recent inspired play.

Including Zusi and Besler, the main men of Benny Feilhaber, Seth Sinovic, Paulo Nagamura, and Aurelien Collin are often the guys who are to be relied upon on the Sporting KC roster while Dom Dwyer and Uri Rosell can regularly be seen as a talisman for the men in blue. And yet, Juliao and Dovale, though new to the team, have something special to them in which supporters and pundits – and yes, other team’s scouts and managers – can see what Peter Vermes saw in them: talent.

With the scouting networks that Sporting Kansas City have as well as the Sporting Academy and the MLS SuperDraft – among other ways to acquire players – it is encouraging to see how young, vibrant players can thrive at a team such as Sporting Kansas City. Through players like Dovale and Juliao, it is promising to know that imagination and talent through the play on field is a top priority in Kansas City.

NEXT UP: May 31 – Sporting Kansas City v. D.C. United, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., 7 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.