The first trade deadline of the Major League Soccer season passed Monday without a move from Sporting Kansas City.
But the club still found itself in the center of speculation over the previous 24 hours, specifically involving defender Saad Abdul-Salaam.
Abdul-Salaam, who has lost his starting spot on the back line to Graham Zusi this season, did not crack the gameday lineup Sunday in Minnesota, prompting thought he could be involved in trade talks.
“It’s all ridiculous,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “It’s all rumors. That’s not even true at all.”
Still, Abdul-Salaam’s absence Sunday was a surprising one. With Zusi getting a day off, it was expected Abdul-Salaam would get the nod. After all, he started 26 games at right back last year.
Vermes called his absence a coach’s decision based on the previous week of practice. He declined when asked to elaborate.
Igor Juliao instead got the start, and Minnesota promptly exploited the right side of Sporting KC’s defense in a 2-0 victory for the home side.
Vermes said Abdul-Salaam is healthy, and indeed he was a full participant in practice Tuesday, the team’s first training session since Sunday’s match.
“He’s fine. He’s good to go,” Vermes said.
Abdul-Salaam, 25, has played only one minute this season after compiling 2,377 minutes on the field in 2016. Zusi moved from the wing to defense at the start of the season and started the team’s first nine matches there.
The MLS trade window re-opens on July 10.