While Sporting Kansas City focuses its global search on upgrading the offense, it took a step toward shoring up the other side of the field by giving three of its defensive players new contracts.
But one of those deals lasted fewer than four hours.
Sporting KC signed defenders Kevin Ellis and Jimmy Medranda and goalkeeper Alec Kann to new deals Tuesday.
More than three hours later, Atlanta United plucked Kann from the Sporting KC roster in the MLS expansion draft. Atlanta selected Kann with its final pick of the draft, which also included incoming club Minnesota.
Kann, who served as the backup to Tim Melia last season, is from Decatur, Ga. He started 10 matches across all competitions and notched two shutouts in league play. Each club could lose only one player in the expansion draft.
The other deals are a bit more long-term.
Ellis, who was out of contract, signed a two-year pact with Sporting KC that will keep him in his hometown through the 2018 season. Medranda was already under contract for 2017 but extended his deal through 2019 with an option for 2020.
The return of Ellis was labeled a priority for Sporting KC after he started 36 matches at center back over the past two seasons. In his 10 starts last year, Sporting KC allowed 12 goals.
Ellis, 25, has appeared in more matches than any other homegrown player. He attended Oak Park High School.
“One of our objectives this offseason was to make sure we secured our central defender position,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said in a statement. “The fact that we were able to bring Kevin back, who has proven to be a productive player in our system, is a great move for both himself and the club.”
Added Ellis: “It was always a dream of mine to be able to play professional soccer in front of my friends and family, and I look forward to continuing my career with my hometown club.”
Medranda, 22, enjoyed a breakout season in 2016. After eight career starts over his initial three seasons in Kansas City, he started 22 matches, recording his first career goal and his first two assists. After shifting to left outside defender, he led MLS with 3.5 tackles won per 90 minutes.