Sporting KC Adds Depth to Defense

SKC makes aggressive moves to prepare for packed 2013 schedule
by Brandon Arendt   |   Friday, December 14, 2012

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

The wheeling and dealing of Peter Vermes’ squad continues as Sporting KC made three moves to bolster its backline, which will come in handy as the team will face one of the most congested schedules it has seen since the 2005 season.

Matt Besler re-signed

The most notable move is the re-signing of 2012 MLS Defender of the Year, Matt Besler – a feat that a few fans had doubted would come to fruition due to the enticing offers Besler had from struggling Premier League’s Queen’s Park Rangers and mid-table Championship side, Birmingham City.

However, the lure of European football just wasn’t enough to gain Besler’s attention.

“I want to play in Kansas City for my whole career," the Overland Park, Kan., native said. "If you told me that in eight to 10 years I was still playing for Kansas City and we'd won multiple championships, that would be the ideal situation. That's my vision."

The 2012 MLS Defender of the Year enjoyed a breakout season in 2012 while pairing with Aurelien Collin, who was a member of the MLS Best XI and a defense that allowed a league best 27 goals in 34 matches.

That wasn’t the only highlight for Besler last season as he also went on to receive his first call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of its international friendly against historic-rival Mexico in the storied Estadio Azteca.

Trade for Opara

Another move that’s full of promise would be the trade of Sporting KC’s natural 2nd round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft for San Jose’s 23-year-old defender, Ike Opara. Opara has already proven himself in MLS after making 36 appearances for the Earthquakes in the last three seasons.

“I'm very excited for the opportunity to play for Peter. It's a fantastic club and I think the last two years speaks for itself when you look at how well the team has done,” Opara said. “This is an opportunity I couldn't say no to and I am excited to be joining the club."

Yann Songo’o comes to Kansas

Who is the unknown in this flurry of offseason action? That would be 21-year-old Cameroonian defender Yann Songo’o. The Real Zaragoza youth product is joining Sporting KC from Spanish side, Pobla de Mafumet.

Brandon ARENDT

Milwaukee Tech
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Swansea City
Brandon is a Milwaukee native and the current Sporting Kansas City columnist for Soccer Newsday. He is an avid gamer, unabashed beer snob and has what can best be described as an "unhealthy" addiction to soccer.