Sporting Kansas City are spending the next two weeks in that oh-so-predictable family-friendly vacation destination: Orlando.
But instead of family bonding, sight-seeing and awkward family photos (well, that’snot completely true
), KC are hitting Disney to do some work. Precisely, the 2012 Disney Pro Classic.
With a group featuring a lot of familiar faces (Houston, Davy Arnaud), it seems like it might be some hard work.
Here’s a quick primer to get you ready for the 8-day friendly tournament.
The games will not be televised, but all will be streamed on MLSsoccer.com and all of KC’s games will feature the familiar announcing duo of Callum Williams and Jake Yadrich.
Sporting Kansas City notes
• This could be a true test of Kansas City’s depth as the team will miss Teal Bunbury (U.S. U-23), Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) and Roger Espinoza (Honduras) due to international matches.
• With the signing of Cyprian Hedrick and the release of Daneil Cyrus, Kansas City has 28 players on its roster (the max is 30).
On Thursday,it was reported that former New York Red Bull defender (and one of their first Homegrown players) Sacir Hot
is on trial with Kansas City. Hot is young (20) and Peter Vermes got to work with him during the Generation adidas tour last year.
He figures to battle Supplemental Draft picks Shawn Singh, Stefan Antonijevic and Kyle Miller for a spot on the 30-man roster.
The team’s other trialists: goalkeepers Steve Spangler and Scott Angevine and midfielder Cyrus Saydee. I’m not sure how many of them are still with the team.
(If Twitter is any indication, it would appear that Angevine, Antonijevic and Miller are certainly still with the team.)
• Midfielder Julio Cesar is currently attending to a personal matter.
Best Guess as to Sporting’s Starting XI
Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Luke Sassano, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Bobby Convey.
With Cesar out and Paulo Nagamura still recovering from an injury, I think it might be Sassano back there at least to start. With Espinoza and Kamara leaving after Sunday, it’s impossible to pick what KC’s lineup might look like after the first game.
Kansas City’s opponentsHouston Dynamo | Friday, 5 p.m.
Oh no, not them again! The last team that many fans likely want to see so early this season is Houston -- the team that sent them packing about four months ago in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But, what better way to put the bitter taste of last year to rest than by getting a little pre-season revenge? I mean, besides getting some regular season revenge.
I expect Sporting to come out on Friday as if they were shot out of cannon.
The Dynamo return the same back-line that beguiled Kansas City’s strikers (Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron and Andre Hainault). They also managed to lose striker Brian Ching to Montreal and then, in a very protracted and slightly immature fashion, managed to get him back for a conditional draft pick.
Key man Brad Davis -- who tore up his leg during that game in KC -- is close to returning. So is speedy striker Calen Carr. Expect them to see some action during the group stages.Key additions:
M Nathan Sturgis (trade from Toronto), F Colin Rolfe (SuperDraft), F/M Macoumba Kandji (trade from Colorado), F Brian Ching (trade from Montreal)Key losses:
M Francisco Navas Cobo (waived), F Carlo Costly (option declined), D Hunter Freeman (option declined), D Eddie Robinson (retired), M Danny Cruz (trade to DC)Montreal Impact | Sunday, 2 p.m.
Hey, remember me? Davy Arnaud spent 9 years wearing a Kansas City shirt. The former captain holds the club record for most league appearances and was generally beloved in this town. Well, now he’s with Montreal.And he’s looking pretty boss in these Montreal promo campaigns.
But is he more important to Montreal’s chances than his fellow former Sportie, Shavar Thomas? OK, yeah, probably. He probably is. But Shavar is definitely on the Impact.
Montreal have shrewdly built their squad this year with a mix of young and hungry and some veteran guys who still have legs in this league. Should be interesting to see how they play.Key additions:
D Nelson Rivas (free), M Justin Mapp (expansion draft), M Sanna Nyassi (expansion draft), M Collen Warner (expansion draft), D Zarek Valentin (expansion draft), F Justin Braun (trade with Chivas), M Davy Arnaud (trade from Sporting), G Donovan Ricketts (trade from LA), M Patrice Bernier (free), F/D Andrew Wenger (SuperDraft), F Mike Fucito (trade Seattle), F Lamar Neagle (trade Seattle)Vancouver Whitecaps | Feb. 29, 5 p.m.
Perhaps no team has been as busy adding firepower as the Whitecaps this season: designated player Barry Robson, MVP candidate Sebastien Le Toux, first-round darft pick Darren Mattocks and midfielder/forward Lee Nguyen. This is a team, oh by the way, that already had a lot of firepower with Eric Hassli, Davide Chiumiento and Camilo Sanvezzo and last year’s first-overall draft pick Omar Salgado.
I think I actually shuddered the first time I thought of the prospect of Hassli and Le Toux up top. That’s a formidable duo. Put them with Robson (arriving in the summer), play-maker Chiumiento, Camilo as a super-sub and the speedy Mattocks and this is a team that will score some goals.
Now... have they rebuilt that defense in front of veteran ‘keeper Joe Cannon? Well, not so much.Key additions:
D Lee Young-Pyo (free), M/F Lee Nguyen (weighted lottery), F Darren Mattocks (SuperDraft), M Jun Marques Davidson (free), F Sebastien Le Toux (trade from Philly), M Barry Robson (arriving in July from Middlesbrough)Key losses:
M Shea Salinias (trade to SJ), G Jay Nolly (trade to Chicago), D Geinier Garcia (trade to Montreal), F Mustapha Jarju (contract terminated)
The Rest of the Field
The other group in the eight-team Disney stand-off features FC Dallas, Toronto FC, hosts Orlando City SC (of the USL-Pro league) and BK Hacken (of the Swedish First Division).
The winners of each group will meet in the championship match on Saturday, March 3 (7 p.m.). The group runners-up will meet in the consolation match on March 3 (5 p.m.).