Why Sporting KC Still Hasn’t Peaked

Transfer of midfielder Uri Rosell is only an indication of intelligent moves in the future
by Katherine Rupp   |   Thursday, June 05, 2014

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

Sporting Kansas City has been on an up-and-down rollercoaster this season with not just injuries but also international call-ups for the talented and ambitious players on the squad.

Being one of the busier times of year – in the June through August window – of the soccer season, Sporting KC have been stretched, and most likely will continue to be tested, with calling up younger and less experienced players, as well as transferring in a midfielder and possibly a defender.

In addition to the MLS regular season – and even with most of June without games because of the World Cup in Brazil – there are matches to be wary of with a US Open Cup game scheduled for mid-June in Kansas City against Minnesota United FC, as well as an MLS game in the Rose City against Portland at the end of the month. With goalkeeper Jon Kempin and midfielder Christian Duke at the affiliate down south at Oklahoma City Energy FC and Mikey Lopez with the Sporting KC affiliate further down south at Orlando City SC, along with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi with the US national team, Lawrence Olum with the Kenya national team; and Ike Opara and Chance Myers out with season-ending injuries, the team is scraping together a team that – when the season started, looked to be healthy and fit and succinct – is a bit fresher-faced than expected.

What’s more, and definitely not what many thought would happen this season, is the sale of defensive midfielder and a strength to the attacking and defensive side of the team, Uri Rosell. With the Catalan headed to Sporting Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting Lisbon), he is the third Sporting KC player to make the jump – or go back – to Europe from MLS, following Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara.

Although Major League Soccer is often seen as either a retirement league to some, others see it more as a stepping stone to other more ‘prestigious’ leagues around the world. However, in other player’s situations, similar to what happened with Uri Rosell, is that MLS – as was the case with Espinoza and Kamara – can be seen as more of a catalyst to their professional footballing careers where they hone their skills and talents and become more disciplined in their specific craft and position.

Although Middlesbrough’s Kamara wins the statistic’s analysis race in goals with how Sporting KC and MLS were springboards for his career, Espinoza and Rosell had equally as strong seasons when they were with Sporting Kansas City. After the Honduran Espinoza left to go to England, Rosell was brought it and quickly became accustomed to the Sporting style of play.

Even though Rosell will leave in the midst of a somewhat depleted Sporting Kansas City roster period with injuries, international callups and players deployed to USL-PRO affiliate teams, his time spent at Sporting KC can be seen as a successful step in his career as well as being a walking soccer resume to what MLS can do for players from outside the United States and for those who are from America. Rosell’s move to a UEFA Champions League team is only a sign – and a good indication at that – of what is to come in future years for transfers of international players and how Sporting KC, and other teams in MLS, can start and continue making these smart transactions to further the team and the US league.

NEXT UP: June 6 – Sporting Kansas City v. Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas. 8:30 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.