Last week I wrote about the MLS Expansion Draft, how the whole thing works, and who Sporting KC protected from being snatched away by the expansion Montreal Impact.
I noted that I thought it was odd to protect Davy Arnaud, an aging midfielder who played little in 2011 after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Though Davy certainly had a great relationship with Peter Vermes – indeed, he was named captain the past two seasons – his production was minimal. The team seemed to play better in his absence which also allowed Graham Zusi to emerge and become, in my opinion, SKC’s best player.
Also, Davy had a hefty salary of over $250,000 per year. That’s a ton when you consider the fact that multiple Sporting starters made under $50,000 last season and contributed far more to the team’s success.
So why would Sporting use one of their coveted 11 spots to protect Arnaud from being selected? Maybe because a behind-the-scenes deal was in the works…
Among others, Vermes left starting defender Seth Sinovic unprotected. Montreal predictably snagged him. After all, Sinovic had a breakout season, and he’s young. He’d be a nice piece for most teams in the league.
But then, in a somewhat surprising move, Montreal traded Sinovic back to KC for Arnaud plus some allocation money. How much money? Not sure, but it sure looks like Sporting got the better end of that deal – they got to keep the player they really wanted, ditched Arnaud’s pricey contract, and got some extra cash in the deal, too.
So from the outside looking in, it looks like Vermes had the hammer in his hand and wasn’t afraid to use it. Montreal obviously wanted Davy more than Vermes let on that he wanted Sinovic back, plus KC still had another very serviceable defender in Michael Harrington waiting in the wings, making Vermes’ bargaining position even stronger.
Other Sporting KC news…
- Goalkeeper Jimmy “White Puma” Nielsen signed an extension locking him up through the 2013 with an option for 2014. The Puma’s been a good thing for the team, and made some spectacular saves last season. Media and the SKC front office voted him the team MVP, so this signing was fairly expected.
- Sporting recently signed Paulo Nagamura from Chivas USA, a dynamic midfielder who can also slide back and defend if needed, in exchange for a first-round supplemental draft pick. Nagamura, the 28 year old Brazilian, is a solid veteran who should challenge for a starting spot right away.
- Vermes’ right hand man, Octavio Zambrano, is heading to Columbia to coach a second tier team, Deportivo Pereira. Obviously, the Columbian league is a step down, not to mention the second tier of the league. Especially considering that Zambrano has been a head MLS coach for LA and New York.
- Get your green beer and scarves ready! Sporting’s home opener for 2012 will be on St. Patty’s Day. The opponent has yet to be announced.