2019-20 Roster Movement Thread

Discussion in 'Sporting Kansas City' started by vividox, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Okay, maybe I should have said it would be smart for us if they took a couple. But it is important still to have some experience on the roster. LAFC wanted Benny, until they got Lee?
    Warshaw's piece this week points out one reason why I think I'm all over the place with what to do next:
    Sporting Kansas City would have made the playoffs if...
    Man, there are so many places to take this. The easiest answer would be to say “if they hadn’t made it so far in CCL,” but I refuse to allow that to be an option. Every team should try to make it as far as possible in every event. The next answer would be “If Roger Espinoza hadn’t gotten hurt,” but the team didn’t exactly hit its stride when he returned. Perhaps “if Krisztian Nemeth hadn’t gone cold” would work. But, truth is, when you drop 24 points from one season to the next, there are a few things that go wrong.

    Okay, I knew this but I hadn't really focused on this. We dropped 24 points with a more expensive roster? We can't really blame a front office unwilling to spend. We spent. We can't blame the lack of a plan. We had one. This was the year we'd been building for, we had all of our pieces in place, and we were a flop.
    One final thought: There is a really good piece in the Guaridian today (https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...chester-city-darth-vader-death-star-dark-side ) that takes a look at how Pep's side is getting beat because, despite having a roster full of truly great players, there is a predictable way to beat a possession side. Vermes tried to play a Barca possession game with okay talent. The hole to hit our death star was really, really huge. If everything had gone right for us (no injuries) we still could have had a miserable season, as pretty much everyone in MLS is set up to exploit a possession game (they either press or counter, either can work).
     
  2. lukeD

    lukeD Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Olathe
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They were managed by someone less stubborn than PV. Any manager with the ability to look in the mirror and admit that "doing the same shit week in week out is resulting in multi goal losses" could have gotten this group to the playoffs. That's not exactly a lofty goal. As I have said before, the tactical adjustment was simple (play another 6 next to Illie and have both sit). If I can see that, I'm sure the players can too. After months of dropping points because your manager can't manage, you get players quiting which results in games where you give up 6 and 7 goals. But all PV wants to talk about is how they generate quality chances and just couldn't finish. No shit. Then if the forwards you signed suck, play defense and stop conceding.
     
  3. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Spot on. I know we don't have a guy like that on the roster, but I'd love to see an athletic, ground-covering center-mid or d-mid to work with Ilie. Like, that money we think should be spent on a star 9 should be spent here. Two defensive-minded center midfielders behind Gutierrez and a slightly more reserved front three should stop that awful core softness we've seen, frankly, for years now. Ike covered a lot of holes by being a great scramble CB, but with a significantly less athletic back line, they need to stop attacks before the defenders get turned.

    I like Johnny, and I definitely like Gerso, especially if we're moving towards a slightly more defensive lineup with the triangle inverting and pointing at the opponent's goal instead of our own. Still got faith in Salloi but not a ton on the consistent defensive side. But another athletic winger and an at least solid striker corps is obviously necessary. I personally don't think we need a striker to be banging in 15-20 goals in a season. Now I'd love that! But truthfully, we're more dependent on a strong, sharp-eyed center forward who can bring the wingers and Gutierrez into goal range. I honestly expected Nemeth to be better at that, but it's clear his career has gotten away from him. He used to be really great at interplay four years ago.

    But yeah, that's how I'd shape my offseason priority list, assuming we don't ship any current starters:
    1. Center/defensive mid first. Biggest money, best signing. Might be limited here because of the size of the diminishing Espinoza's contract.
    2. Striker second. You can't get shit without some cash here, so it necessarily has to rank high.
    3. CB third. Barath and Besler are, at this point, both pretty good. I'm not sure we're going to have gangbusters at that position again any time soon unless we don't sign a center mid or striker.
    4. Fullbacks next. Probably should be higher than CB, but this is Vermes and if he doesn't love his center backs, he doesn't love his team. I have been liking Martins at LB, but he needs a backup. Zusi struggled way too hard this year and I strongly believe Lindsey is not ready for a starting position. Phase Graham into a utility guy and sign a starting RB, who will probably quickly get injured and see Lindsey get most of the minutes and a long trial by fire.
    5. Depth. Keeper, forward, winger, the lot. Our options suck if Melia goes down. Medranda, Busio, and Zusi all are solid quality at literally any position on the field. I do like that. Espinoza losing his starting spot but staying on the team gives us a real strong midfield depth, but Roger gets terribly reckless when he wants to impress in limited minutes. Might backfire badly.
    Keep the coach. Keep the bulk of the lineup. Most of us are in agreement here at who can stay and who can go. I've seen some folks calling for Salloi to leave (fair, but that's a real sell-low proposition, and we might be much better served by granting him another year before trading him away) or Gerso (unfair--he's not a great finisher but he does great stuff for this team enough, and if the midfield learned to hit a lobbed through ball, he could fluff so many good chances I think even Buzz would be blushing).

    I don't know! That's a giant pile of my thoughts. Thanks for reading. I am excited to watch some playoffs even if we're not in them, and I'm incredibly excited to see if Peter can use this offseason to truly course-correct a flagging titan in the league.
     
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  4. siskoeva

    siskoeva Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    I honestly feel like we are missing out on fun locker room presence too. Your list is great for the makeup of the team, but one of the things that has been relatively consistent is someone who just oozes charisma and is outspoken about things like Ike, Collin, Dom, Kamara, and for a period, Feilhaber (BF Show era Benny). We have had that basically since 2011. I don't feel like we've had that this year (not benny), but I may be wrong. We have JFR which is good, and I feel like Gerso would bring that attitude sometimes on the sidelines, but I was hopeful when we started playing Blessing that he would be that ball of fun energy before he was taken in the expansion draft. We have a severe Fun Gap it seems, and I think that is as much a part of the success of our past teams as the tactics, team makeup, and philosophy of SKC.
     
  5. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Interesting thinking. Johnny is mostly that current personality. He's just a bit less on-field charismatic than a Kei or Dom. But we do have a lot of players who don't work with the crowd much (Espinoza case in point, club mainstay and important piece on the field, but he always seems very private and uninterested in getting involved in the community or marketing stuff).
     
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  6. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Buzz, as we're getting away from the game comment and into the offseason rebuild, which goes beyond roster movement, maybe use this post as a starting point for that discussion. It's thoughtful and in depth, folks will disagree with parts, agree with others, etc. Just for tidiness.
     
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  7. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    So what parts are you disagreeing with? ;)
     
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  8. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I'm not really sure I would. I was just saying i thought it was a really thoughtful post and would work to kick off a discussion about WTF next. I think some would disagree on Vermes.
     
  9. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    That we keep him? Haha. People are silly.

    I am currently and have frequently been quite frustrated with him. I think he wears too many hats but also refuses to take any off, and it's a weird conundrum. But really, I have said this before: I'm giving him this offseason. If he can't use this offseason to turn this team into a solid competitor again, he's on the hot seat. I'm not giving him a whole new season, just at minimum the first third of it. If his signings bust bad or familiarly never materialize, and the results are pouring in overwhelmingly bad, then clearly he doesn't have the ability to turn this team around any time soon and we need a new approach.

    It's fun to dream of what a shiny, superstar coach could do here. But let's remember folks, we know who our management is. Best case scenario, we're getting a USL coach to step up into the position. We're not getting an actual international name or pedigreed fellow.
     
  10. kckicker23

    kckicker23 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    KC
    I'm much closer to "PV Out" than you are, but I share the concern about the hiring process if/when we do make a change. I actually think that's one reason why SKC has stagnated in the league since the '13 Cup win - the rest of the league adjusted to us and also raised their collective ambition level, and we don't have management group exerting pressure on PV. 2018 was a good-to-great league performance, but I worry it's a fluke when taken with everything else since 2013.

    That being said, ownership has at least greenlit higher spending on salaries, compared to the rest of the league. The problem has been utilization of those resources, and badly missing on the Croizet/Fontas signings. You just can't afford to miss that badly on DP-type slots, when you get so few of them. That's the one side of things that leaves me with some optimism heading into this off-season - that funds will be made available by ownership.

    As for what to do this off-season you make really compelling arguments about where to target. I would say that Striker is priority 1, followed by an upgrade at AM so that Guti can play what seems to be his more natural role a little more withdrawn. The "late arriver" into the box as it were. However, I could completely see focusing deeper on the pitch at the DM spot first.

    The fact is, we need upgrades all over the field. Normally, I'd be excited to see what the young players could bring, but outside of Busio, none of them got enough minutes this year to draw any conclusions on their impact next season.

    Long-winded, sorry! But there's lots to say. This is a hugely important off-season that will determine the trajectory of the club over the next 3 years.
     
  11. SportingKCFan

    SportingKCFan Member

    Sep 2, 2010
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Does Sporting have the ability to restructure a player’s contract to play an aging player less with the understanding that the player will retire and get a lucrative front office job or “ambassador” role to make up for the loss in salary? I know other leagues have done that and am wondering if MLS rules have any prohibition about this. Zusi would be ideal for this scenario (especially as an inducement for early retirement) and possibly Roger also.
     
  12. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    I know what you're talking about and it's possible. However, you're insane if you think Zusi is on the verge of retirement--or that he should be. He's been getting exposed as a fullback lacking pace, yes, but his fitness and his skills have really in no way declined yet! Let's see him lose a starting spot before we ever decide to just forcibly retire him. I personally, as I stated above I think, think he's very solid depth at so many positions that a year or two of him playing 15-20 games is absolutely terrific. I would like him to do that for cheaper, sure. But the guy just turned 33, and that's not really that old at all.

    Espinoza is the same age. His fitness is starting to look less unshakable, so that's a small concern. But while I personally think his minutes going forward should be more limited than Zusi's (unless of course we fail to fix our midfield this offseason), I would imagine he's less likely to transition to back-office or ambassador roles.

    Hell, I'd be happy to resign Feilhaber on a low contract to transition him over, but I'm not sure that's feasible.
     
  13. Buzz Killington

    Buzz Killington Member+

    Oct 6, 2002
    Lee's Summit
    Club:
    Kansas City Wizards
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It’s not just management. The issue of getting a coach is the same as a player. An international name/pedigree is going to want a big city/name. And that’s not Kansas City. It’s like the Giroud rumor today:
     
  14. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    I'm aware of that. But it's a bigger question in plenty of ways than just the city. Liverpool and KC are around the same population--also how many players would die to play at LFC but would pretty normally pass up Everton? The thing is if the sporting side is good enough, the city will do. Giroud might not be totally tempted by Vancouver as a city, but he also with a small bit of easy research can realize it's a successless club with constant managerial and ownership issues.

    Anyways. The small market complaint has validity and point, but I think its impact is a bit overstated. Because when I hear Giroud say that, what really is coming out of his mouth is "I think I can leverage the size of your club/city to get a bigger salary." Every time.
     
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  15. kckicker23

    kckicker23 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    KC
    100% this. And also, the market for soccer players is a huge, huge place. Sure, we might not have a shot at Ibra, Vela, Rooney, or Giroud. But who cares? Put the right program in place with the wages to back it up and we absolutely should compete for an Almiron-type player. It's on us to identify the players, who I guarantee are out there, bring them in, and help them succeed.
     
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  16. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Giroud's list was essentially the US cities every european has heard of, though we'd have to toss Orlando in there.Jazz fans all know KC, though. Sadly, they're also over 60...
    That said, take a look at Germany and it's obvious that less sexy places can attract really great players. The cities everyone has heard of and on which they are most easily sold are Munich, Berlin, Hamburg. The stadium at Hoffenheim holds more people than live in Hoffenheim. Bremen is known only for a Moose standing on a pig standing on a donkey standing on a widlebeast, or something like that. the clubs in the Ruhr are attracting players despite the fact that the place is essentially a couple hundred miles of the West Bottoms.
    In England, any player who was looking for a nice place to live and actually visited Birmingham would run screaming, yet Aston Villa, West Brom and BCity all recruit competitive sides.
     
  17. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Spot on. Check out Gustavo Bou at New England. Very solid player, good pedigree (recent success at River Plate and Tijuana), went to a team without a city even attached to it that has never won the title, nor did it appear to be even sniffing at the playoffs before he signed on.

    MLS has the slight luxury of not needing the world's best to compete. England has to pay out their nose for whoever is currently amazing. Spain and France too. But us? We can take a forward from a mid-table German or Italian team and mess everyone the hell up. It's a great power to not be battling for best league in the world. Giroud is a marketing overreach. He was a part of the team that just won the World Cup--he still feels he's world class elite. He won't be worth the price tag. But there are a ton of hungry guys who are way better than the strikers on our roster who would have absolutely no problem playing in KC.

    Even those guys cost more than a free transfer, though. Hence the balking. Let's just say I find the Revs playing more ambitiously than SKC to hurt.
     
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  18. lukeD

    lukeD Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Olathe
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let's be honest, PV would bench Giroud for lack of work rate and would play Hurtado.
     
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  19. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    1. Assuming under PV we aren't going to do that, a younger version of Roger. This, at an MLS level, is actually a pretty easy player to find, a lung busting ball winner. Trully elite 8s are beyond our means, but man, there are a ton of these guys around the world. It's pretty much every midfielder in the 2bund, for example. Question though: I know Zelalem didn't impress this season, but he didn't have a full preseason. etc. Is he simply done? I know, he's also out of contract...
    2. He's become more of a 10/7 this season, but Julian Green is playing very good football right now. He's cheap. He's frustrated. We'd be luring him away from a place and club with which we are quite competitive. I know this isn't a popular idea, but I think that he might be up for a move, esp to reboot his national team chances, and with Russell, Gerso and we hope Salloi, a 9 (who can score) but plays like a 10 is not a bad option. He works hard defensively, as well, these days.
    3. I'd really like to start the process of getting EPB back. City see him as an asset to be sold. the season long loans require folks to cover his salary, and he's shown well in the Dutch and now Austrian leagues. Right now, he's playing in one of the world's truly great cities, and if they exercise their option to buy, this might mean maybe when he's 30, but I get a sense the grass isn't quite as green as a young guy would think it would be in European football. Overall, SKC is a better team than Wien.
    Overall, we do need to do better in central, south America and the isles, and we could find young players as good or better lying around on the sidewalks there.
     
  20. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    1. You think Vermes is going to try to ride Roger as the ballwinner for another year? I think if that's the case, we definitely are missing the playoffs again. He doesn't have that requisite level of quality to glue together our midfield at this time, especially considering Gutierrez and especially Ilie are not particularly quick or athletic. I'm having trouble deciding how Zelalem could factor other than midfield depth. I am fine with that, but I just don't see a high enough upside from him to say that a solid offseason would push him at a starting position. Certainly not the Roger archetype.

    2. I remember enjoying his play a bit, but from what I remember he's a bit more of a disappearing player, right? Fades in and out of games? Pete hates that. It would be a bit of a shock to sign him here and then demand he run all game long. He seems more like a dynamic, finesse sort of player, and those don't often fare well here. We'd see, I guess.

    3. Meh on EPB. He's just another CB. I think we can do better for cheaper. Might have to burn an international spot, but I think that's a fair position to use it for. EPB would cost a lot and raise a bunch of hooplah, but every time I've seen him play in the last couple of years, he has not impressed enough to miss him.

    Basically, once our scouting stops focusing so hard on just how good players are in possession, we might be able to build a balanced team. I dunno. I'm starting to think the current scouting setup and the nature of our rosters/contracts mean that next year is gonna look really familiar.
     
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  21. kckicker23

    kckicker23 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    KC
    This is the sense of dread I've had all season. Even if we dramatically improve our scouting for the upcoming transfer window (a big if), the roster crunch that we're in leaves us next to no flexibility.

    I honestly think our best hope is that one of the expansion teams decides that it's worth having an MLS veteran like Espinoza, Zusi, or (gasp!) Besler, and we can manufacture some flexibility that way.
     
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  22. Inca Roads

    Inca Roads Member+

    Nov 22, 2012
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Those guys are largely pretty safe based on their contracts. I don't want to lose Besler because a hometown, one club man is a great legacy to keep, even if he's not gonna be our starter/captain always going forward.

    But really, the big question is what happens with Fontas. That's a million in contract plus an international slot. The rest of our biggest drains v. money spent are gone or out of contract, so we're not in a terrible position. We're just not in a great position to improve our core. We really need to, though. Start phasing at least a couple of those guys out, otherwise we're gonna hit 2021 with a really, really new-look team and those typically pan out poorly.

    With any luck, the CBA negotiations will go sideways, the season will be a wash, and we can drop a bunch of excessive contracts without losing all season. I'm kidding. I'd rather lose all year long than have no MLS to watch.
     
  23. Buzz Killington

    Buzz Killington Member+

    Oct 6, 2002
    Lee's Summit
    Club:
    Kansas City Wizards
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If we have more than 6-7 new players next year I’ll be surprised. It was never going to be a full blow up.
     
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  24. kckicker23

    kckicker23 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    KC
    My hope is that we just bite the bullet and buy out Fontas from his contract. The way I understand the rules is that each team gets one (and only one) "off-season" buyout per year. I'm assuming that our buyout of Croizet was taken care of in a way that we still preserved our ability to buy out Fontas during this upcoming off-season.
     
  25. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I guess if we buy out Fontas (or did we do that for Croziet?), and also need to replace Benny, Seth, Wallace, Zelalem and Croziet ... there could be a trade or two ... but you're correct, 6-7 (and I'd say up to 8) is about it.
     

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