Before Sporting Kansas City supplements its roster this winter, its first task is assessing its own personnel.
The initial fallout from those evaluations came Monday, with Sporting Kansas City declining the options of defensive midfielder Soni Mustivar, midfielder Kevin Oliveira, forward Cameron Iwasa and defender Tyler Pasher.
The club exercised 2018 options for starters Roger Espinoza, Tim Melia, Ike Opara and Daniel Salloi, as well as reserves Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kharlton Belmar, Amer Didic, Andrew Dykstra, James Musa, Colton Storm and Adrian Zendejas.
Among the four to have their options declined, only Mustivar stepped onto the field for more than two matches in 2017. He started 44 games between 2015-16 but was replaced in the starting lineup by Ilie Sanchez this season. Mustivar will be eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft next month. Pasher, Iwasa and Oliveira will be eligible for selection in the MLS Waiver Draft.
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After the moves were made official Monday, Sporting KC has 25 players under contract for the 2018 season. In addition to the 11 players whose options were exercised, Matt Besler, Latif Blessing, Gianluca Busio, Kevin Ellis, Benny Feilhaber, Gerso Fernandez, Ilie Sanchez, Jaylin Lindsey, Cristian Lobato, Jimmy Medranda, Diego Rubio, Soony Saad, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi are already under contract.
But several will have to be left unprotected for the MLS expansion draft on Dec. 12, when Los Angeles FC continues building its inaugural roster. Sporting KC will be allowed to protect 11 players from being selected in the expansion draft. Homegrown players are automatically exempt.
Sporting KC will open its training camp on Jan. 22 in Tucson, Ariz.