Sporting Kansas Citys off-season family vacations to Tuscon and Orlando are firmly in the rear-view mirror. Though they did seem to bring some of the nice weather with them.
The Kansas City Star
On Tuesday, KC started its final preparations for First Kick weekend with a robust -- and well attended -- training session at the Swope Park Training Facility.
Here are a few things that I took away from the day.
Midfield injuries continue to cause concern
Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar and Paulo Nagamura are all nursing nagging leg injuries. Cesar is the only one who participated in full drills with his teammates -- though he was off-limits for contact.
Zusi stretched with his teammates before finishing the rest of the morning doing light training on his own and running. His injury is tightness in his quadriceps and his light regiment is designed to not make his injury worse. He will likely play on Saturday.
Nagamura, also dealing with muscle tightness, spent the first half of training running before heading inside for the rest of the morning.
Clearing up the international slot situation
Sporting Kansas City will head into the season with five international slots occupied and two empty.
The five internationals are Korede Aiyegbusi, Aurelien Collin, Peterson Joseph, Jimmy Nielsen and Julio Cesar.
Dom Dwyer, the teams English first-round draft pick, has received his green card. The team waived Daneil Cyrus... so, voila.
Trialists sticking around
Only a few of KCs trialists have stuck through the Arizona and Florida trips to make it to training in Kansas City: leftback Shawn Singh, defender Kyle Miller, goalkeepers Steve Spangler and Scott Angevine, and midfielder Mozzi Gyorio.
Central defenders Stefan Antonijevic and Sacir Hot have left camp after the Disney Classic.
Kansas City currently have 28 slots on the 30-man roster filled (this includes Birahim Diop, who technically is still part of the team until he is officially released). That leaves the above five guys fighting over, theoretically, two spots.
With Eric Kronberg out injured for only the first few weeks of the season, I dont expect KC to sign Spangler or Angevine to a contract. (I wouldnt be surprised if KC worked with Major League Soccer to get one of them a job as an MLS pool keeper.)
That means it comes down to Miller (who Peter Vermes actually coached as a youth at the Blue Valley Soccer Club; he also came up through the Sporting KC Juniors), Singh (a supplemental draft pick) and Gyorio (a relatively new trialist who last played with the Tampa Bay Rowdies who resembles Legolas from The Lord of the Rings).
My money is on Miller and Gyorio. Though Vermes has said he wont fill the open spots just to fill them.
The boots are brighter this year
I think adidas might be consulting with Nicki Minaj on their shoe colors this year.
Orange everywhere. Neon pink mixed with blue. Electric yellow. The only Sporting KC player who truly stood out, boot-wise, was Julio Cesar -- who was wearing pretty standard and classic black with white stripes.
I might have to re-fresh my story from last year on what boots the players wear. Kei Kamaras orange-red combo might cause sunspots if you stare to closely.