There are several American MLS stalwarts in the Sporting KC squad who will be looking to right the wrongs of 2019, leaning on their tremendous experience. They include goalkeeper Tim Melia, who enters his sixth season with the club, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, who will continue to be the star men in the side’s backline as their illustrious MLS careers continue in 2020.
The club’s best two players from last season, Johnny Russell and Felipe Gutierrez, will aim to continue their partnership at the head of the field, while Daniel Salloi, Gerso Fernandes, Ilie Sanchez and Erik Hurtado will also be looking to provide goals for the club to back up the main protagonists up front.
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Transfers & SuperDraft Picks
Eight members of last year’s Sporting KC squad were not retained for the 2020 term, with two of those joining MLS new-boys Nashville SC ahead of their inaugural campaign. Colombian midfielder Jimmy Medranda was selected by Nashville SC in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft, while goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas was traded for $175,000 in allocation money.
The other six players to leave the side in the offseason all saw the options on their contracts declined. Seth Sinovic joined the New England Revolution after leaving SKC, while Gedion Zelalem will line up for New York City FC in 2020. MLS stalwarts Benny Feilhaber and Rodney Wallace also left Sporting in the offseason, with Nicolas Hasler and Krisztian Nemeth the final members of the squad to have their options declined.
In response to losing eight players, SKC have brought five in, with just one of those coming from MLS rivals. Mexican goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, having most recently played for Chicago Fire, was selected by the club in the 2019 MLS Re-Entry Draft, and Amadou Dia made the move up from USL Championship side Phoenix Rising.
The biggest transfer was Alan Pulido, who makes the move north of the border after a successful spell with C.D. Guadalajara. He broke Sporting KC’s transfer record and then some and will finally provide a goalscoring centre-forward for Peter Vermes. The final two offseason signings have both come from European football. Khiry Shelton returns for a second spell with the club after a year with SC Paderborn and Croatian defender Roberto Puncec arrives from Rijeka.
Sporting KC traded away both of their first two picks in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, leaving them with selections in the third and fourth rounds only. They used both, choosing Washington winger Jaret Townsend with the 58th overall before selecting Virginia Tech defender James Kasak in the fourth round.