By TATE STEINLAGE
Sporting Kansas City hit the trading block Wednesday, agreeing to a deal with the New England Revolution for forward Teal Bunbury. The move sends the 23-year-old forward to the Revolution in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2015 SuperDraft and allocation money.
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes told SBI Wednesday that the decision was made for a couple of reasons.
“One, obviously we are a team that is pretty top-heavy at the forward position,” Vermes said. “The other is that Teal came to me at the end of the season and he said, ‘Look, the biggest thing I want to do is I want to play.’
“I’ve done that for a couple guys now that maybe aren’t going to get the consistent playing time they’re looking for. It was Michael Harrington last year. It’s not something I’m unaccustomed to doing. Obviously I don’t want to hurt us in the meantime, but in one respect I was able to move a guy in a place where we are top-heavy, and at the same time provide him with the opportunity to go somewhere where he will get a chance at a lot of playing time.”
The move guarantees that Sporting KC will have at least two first-round picks in next year’s draft. And that may prove to be huge with the possibility of losing players to expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC.
“That’s been on my mind, with the potential to lose two players next year,” Vermes said. “It’s always hard to replace those guys from outside of the league, and it definitely helps if we can find one or two guys in the draft who are going to have the potential to eventually be important players for the club one day. This gives us a little better shot to find somebody who can become an impact player.”
Here are more Sporting Kansas City notes:
VERMES IMPRESSED WITH SAPONG’S PRESEASON FORM
If anyone was in Peter Vermes’ doghouse last season, it was forward C.J. Sapong.
The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year had a career low in goals (4), appearances (25), and shots (33) last season. It was enough to warrant two trips down to USL Pro affiliate Orlando City SC to try and regain his form.
But that is in the past. Now, Sapong is looking sharp and ready to go as one of Peter Vermes’ most prolific forward options.
“He’s the fittest he’s ever been,” Vermes said. “His attitude is fantastic and his movement off the ball is great.”
Vermes noted that last year’s roller coaster season may have been the catalyst for Sapong’s transformation this preseason.
“I think he learned a lot from last year,” Vermes said. “I think he took those lessons, went home, and came back here recharged, ready to go, and very focused and concentrated on what he wants to do as a player. He’s been one of the top guys thus far in preseason.”
Sapong spent most of last year at both wing positions after entering the league as a hold-the-ball center forward.
SPORTING KC TOP RED BULLS IN ORLANDO
Sporting KC needed just one goal to topple the New York Red Bulls in their opener at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla.
Forward Jacob Peterson was the lone goal scorer, finding the back of the net in the 65th minute off a loose ball in the box.
“They played very well to start the game,” Vermes said about the team’s overall performance. “They had a very good mindset with how to play and move the ball, so I was happy with that aspect. We did find some areas where I think we have some good concepts on what we want to do when we’re going forward and things like that, but we still have some work to do.”
Sporting KC moved to 3-0-1 this preseason. They will return to action Saturday at 3 p.m. against Fluminense FC’s U-23 squad.
OTHER NEWS AND NUGGETS:
- Sporting KC opened Wednesday with a 2-0 shutout in a scrimmage against Eastern Florida State College. SuperDraft selection Adnan Gabeljic and guest trialist Carlos Sanchez netted goals for the team.
- Sporting KC forward Soony Saad started and played 75 minutes for Lebanon Wednesday in a 3-1 victory over Pakistan. Saad is expected to rejoin his teammates before the MLS opener in Seattle on March 8.
- On Tuesday, Sporting Club and Sporting KC announced a multi-year agreement with locally-owned grocery chain Price Chopper to become the “presenting partner” of the Sporting Club Network.
Like Vermes’ reasoning for trading Bunbury? Expecting Sapong to have a strong season? Which Sporting KC players impressed you in the victory over the Red Bulls?
Share your thoughts below.