Another staple of the Peter Vermes era won’t be returning to Sporting Kansas City in 2017.
Free agent forward Jacob Peterson has signed with MLS expansion club Atlanta United, the team announced Wednesday.
Peterson, 30, played five seasons in Kansas City, scoring a career-high six goals in 2016. He is the second player with a five-year tenure to pursue other plans after midfielder Paulo Nagamura announced his retirement earlier this month.
Like Nagamura, Peterson was highly-regarded by Vermes for his tenacity on the field. In 2016, that equaled career-best production, too. In his 11th MLS season, Peterson set career highs with 18 starts, six goals, 37 shots and 13 shots on goal.
Because he has been in the league for eight seasons and is older than 28, Peterson qualified for MLS free agency for the first time in his career. Sporting Kansas City opted to let him test the market. The club is thought to be pursuing upgrades to its wing position, with that search centralizing on younger talent. Peterson better fit the wish list for an Atlanta team that has already spent significant designated player funds and was looking to complement those expenditures with MLS experience.
Peterson received Sporting Kansas City’s club goal of the year award last fall for a tally against Seattle in a 3-0 victory at Children’s Mercy Park. From the inside edge of the penalty area, Peterson lofted a shot toward the far post that reached that splashed the side netting.