The Sporting Kansas City roster will essentially be finalized on Aug. 4, one day after Major League Soccer closes its transfer and trade windows.
Until then, consider it very much in flux. At least if Tuesday is any indication.
Sporting made a pair of moves Tuesday, signing Ghanaian midfielder Emmanuel Appiah before trading former 2015 first-round pick Amadou Dia to Montreal in exchange for forward Cameron Porter.
Sporting may not be done, either. In an interview with The Star on Tuesday, coach Peter Vermes said, “We’re still trying to make some other moves if we can.” With three weeks left to refine its depth chart, the club has continued to scour the international market, using a defined shopping list.
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“We would like to add a winger and an attacking midfielder,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “We’re having a discussion with a list of people in both of those positions. We’re going to try like heck to make something happen.”
The deadline is rapidly approaching. After the transfer window closes on Aug. 3, an MLS team cannot add a player to this season’s roster if he was under contract on Aug. 3 or later.
The window opened on July 4, and Sporting has already been active. It made its signing of Honduran left back Ever Alvarado official, extended the loan of forward Diego Rubio through the remainder of the season and announced the two roster additions Tuesday.
Alvarado was loaned to the Swope Park Rangers on Tuesday, his first chance to see game action of any sort since arriving in Kansas City.
Porter, 23, has not appeared in an MLS game this season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee last summer, his rookie year. But he has played in USL matches this season, and Vermes said the team is confident Porter is again healthy.
The Colorado Rapids selected Appiah, 22, with the No. 15 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft in January. The two sides parted ways on June 30. Appiah has never played in an MLS match.
Asked if he expected Porter and Appiah to contribute this season, Vermes replied, “I think it’s too early to make a decision like that because we haven’t been with those guys long enough to know yet.”
Vermes has said in the past he prefers utilizing the winter window to make short-term improvements to his club rather than the summer opening, especially considering players can take a few weeks to find their place in a system that demands exemplary fitness.
As Heineman mentioned on his wish list, the wing position signifies Sporting Kansas City’s most glaring need before Aug. 4. Jacob Peterson, Brad Davis and Connor Hallisey have rotated opposite Graham Zusi. The four attacking players have combined for four goals in 37 starts.
But Sporting, 8-8-4, doesn’t necessarily possess the urgency to fortify its 2016 roster that it perhaps did several weeks ago, when it was riding a seven-game winless streak. As it travels to face Chicago on Wednesday, it owns a five-game unbeaten streak and sits in fifth place in the Western Conference standings. It has also scored multiple goals in four straight games for the first time since July 2014.
“I believe in the guys we have. I think we have a good team,” Vermes said. “I think we’re starting to show that we’re making a little bit of a push here in the second half of the season, which is what we’re trying to do. We want to be stronger in the second half than we were in the first.”