Nashville (November 19, 2019)- An active, active day in the MLS Expansion Draft Timeline, sees Sporting KC lose two players to the Expansion process, one by choice, the other, well, yeah, they lost both by choice.
Nashville SC is manned by former Sporting KC Assistant Technical Director, Mike Jacobs, who got greedy for Sporting KC players. He not only selected Jimmy Medranda, the Colombian swiss-army knife, but then traded a ton of GAM and TAM for Adrian Zendejas. Sporting KC netted a total of $100k in GAM and $125k in TAM and an International Roster Spot for 2020 in the whole process. Let’s break it down.
First things First, Losing Jimmy isn’t Losing Latif
Latif Blessing is the one all Sporting KC staff, and the fanbase loves to lament, and for good reason. Sporting did a ton of work pulling the youngster from the Ghanaian first division, only to have him ripped for their paws because they got him a green card too early. The latest roster loss directly from the Expansion draft is Jimmy Medranda. Losing Medranda isn’t like losing Latif.
Medranda never found the “production” aspect and consistent playing time until 2018, until an injury derailed him for the next year and a half. Nobody quite knows what he’s going to be after that injury, so losing a big question mark, isn’t necessarily worse than losing someone whose floor was that first year with Sporting KC.
Losing Medranda still isn’t great. Medranda was my personal favorite to replace Roger Espinoza in the long term, but now that can’t happen. However, Sporting KC has Felipe Gutierrez, who is more the ideal replacement for Espinoza in the long term, and Sporting could maybe go get a true number 10. Wishful thinking though.
Zendejas was a future number 1 Keeper
Zendejas is good enough to be a starter on most MLS teams. Think about it. There are maybe 6-7 goalkeepers in this league that you would say aren’t replaceable. Frei, Guzan, Miller, Hamid, Mannone, Melia, and maybe one of Matt Turner or Steve Clark. That leaves nearly 18 other Goalkeepers that Zendejas would likely be better than.
Sporting KC loved Zendejas, which is why they protected him. However, when your old assistant Technical Director offers you more allocation monies than what Montreal was selling their USMNT Left-Back (semantics) for, then you pull the trigger. After all, Melia is only in his early thirties, and keepers don’t decline then, usually.
The other question was how long could Sporting KC hang on to Zendejas before he wanted out and an opportunity to start? It wasn’t going to be much longer. So trading him now, to someone who values Zendejas a lot, was going to be selling him at the highest you could’ve in Sporting’s circumstances. Not a bad move.
What does Sporting do now?
Well, by Thursday we’ll all hear their roster decisions so I assume we’ll get more clarity on what their starting point for this offseason will be. The big question now is what happens with Eric Dick? Dick is one of the last draft-picks that Sporting KC has even signed, and he’s only made one appearance for the club.
Dick never made the leap that they were hoping he would in year 2, and they’ve got a nice goalkeeper with Swope Park Rangers right now who was involved in the USYNT setup. John Pulskamp, 18, is well-liked within the organization due to his ability to play with the ball at his feet. If his shot-stopping ever got up to a reasonable level, he’d be a shoo-in as a starting goalkeeper for them in the near future. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be on Sporting’s pro roster yet. Again, we’ll learn their offseason direction here in a few days, but the decision regarding Eric Dick is the biggest one that today’s moves may have impacted.