Donnelly: Espinoza Heads to EPL, Sporting Puts 4 on Best XI

Well, it finally happened…

After months of rumblings, Sporting KC midfield bulldog Roger Espinoza looks like he’s headed to play in the best league in the world, the English Premier League.  Reports indicate that Wigan has grabbed the Honduran international, with only a few formalities left before the deal becomes final.

Espinoza’s stock really shot up after the Olympic games – and more specifically after the Honduras-Brazil game in which Roger contributed a goal and an assist before receiving a red card.  As he walked to the tunnel the English crowd gave the ejected player a standing ovation.

After his Olympic success, though, Espinoza never quite got back into his top form.  He battled a few injuries and missed several games for his club side.

So what does this mean for Sporting? 

They recently cut holding midfielder Julio Cesar, so the only returning starting midfielder heading into next year is Graham Zusi. It looks all but certain that Uri Rosell will slide into Cesar’s spot, judging from the high praise the Spaniard received after the final game against Houston.  Peterson Jospeh also seems to be up and coming but I’m a little more hesitant about him than I am about Rosell.

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The post-season awards continue to pile up for SKC.

Last week Matt Besler was named MLS Defender of the Year, Graham Zusi is a finalist for MLS MVP, and White Puma Jimmy Nielsen is a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year.

On top of that, Zusi, Aurelien Collin, Nielsen, and Matt Besler have been named to the MLS Best XI team.  The four selections from one team ties the MLS all-time record.

Is it just me or do all these accolades serve to re-open the wound concerning how the season ended so disappointingly?

I mean, how many players did Houston place on the team?

None.

Nevertheless, it’s great to see the best defense in the league get some national love, and Zusi’s numbers this season certainly make him a deserving nominee for MVP.  He won’t come close to winning it – Chris Wondolowski should run away with it – but hopefully Sporting’s string puller can build off this, gain some additional confidence, and really step up and be the midfield general that this team will need next season.

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6 Responses to Donnelly: Espinoza Heads to EPL, Sporting Puts 4 on Best XI

  1. Rick Nichols says:

    I think the uncertainty over Espinoza’s situation has been something of a distraction off the field for Sporting, and looking ahead to 2013, I don’t see his absence from the pitch as being the difference between a possible MLS title and just another close-but-no-cigar season. In short, if he were back in uniform for Kansas City, the team would still need something else to reach “the promised land.”

  2. legendaryhog says:

    Still don’t get how Espinoza going to EPL happens. But, what do I know. I just don’t think he’s that quality. He was great for Sporting as a holding midfielder, but come on. 2 assists this year and no goals. His only goal he scored all year was in that Olympic game. Although I guess Wigan isn’t exactly a powerhouse.

    Also, Collin in the MLS Best XI? I know that is chosen somehow by the media, teams, and players, although I don’t know the formula, but really? Didn’t he get benched for three games this year and lose his spot to Olum? Also wasn’t he out for two games this season due to yellow card accumulation? I….just…don’t…get…it.

    And actually I like both players. Will be sorry to see Espinoza go. Now Sporting, get some fucking goal scorers!

    • the dude says:

      Totally agree.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t know if Roger will stick or not in the EPL, but it will certainly be an interesting measuring stick to watch a guy we are so familiar with go up against the best in the world. Might give us a better gauge with which to judge some of Sporting’s other top guys.

  3. Rick Nichols says:

    Getting a club record 4 on the Best XI is great, but I’d rather be anxiously awaiting a KC-LA showdown Saturday in the MLS Cup (and here at that!). Well, let’s just hope Sporting’s brass can make a deal or two in the offseason and bring at least one game-changer to Livestrong Sporting Park if the place is still going by that name when the 2013 season begins.

  4. Matt says:

    The hits keep coming.

    Just announced: White Puma Jimmy Nielsen is MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.

    MLS MVP will be announced tomorrow.

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