Sporting KC draw in Portland, one win away from reaching MLS Cup
The Sporting Kansas City lineup has a way of finding a route back to Seth Sinovic.
It’s been that way for years now. An ongoing chain of left backs have joined the team, potentially to unseat the incumbent atop the depth chart, but Sporting KC eventually reverts back to its hometown player for a stretch run.
Well, the club is returning to him once more.
Sporting KC has signed Sinovic to a one-year extension through the 2019 season, sources told The Star.
Sinovic was slated to become a free agent at the end of the team’s playoff run, which continues Thursday with the second leg of the Western Conference Finals against Portland at Children’s Mercy Park. He was eligible for the league’s limited form of free agency — players who are at least 28 years old and have eight or more years of MLS service.
Sinovic, who will turn 32 in January, is in his ninth MLS season, and has spent the past eight of those in Kansas City, the place where he was born. He grew up in Leawood and attended Rockhurst High School.
The impact shows in the record, not the top-line soccer statistics such as goals or assists. Sporting KC is 13-3-5 when Sinovic starts this year, and it has posted 10 shutouts in those 18 matches. The club is 6-5-4 when he is absent from the starting lineup.
Sinovic has just four goals in his MLS career, two of them in the postseason.
“I’ve accepted my role,” Sinovic said earlier this year. “I try to do what I’m asked and what I feel is necessary to help the team in every situation. I know I’m not going to be the guy that’s going to be scoring a bunch of goals. If that’s sitting back and helping our team stay balanced, that’s what it is. I’ve just always taken what the game gives me.”
Sinovic has won four trophies with Sporting KC — the 2013 MLS Cup and three U.S. Open Cup championships. He’s one of only three players to start in all four finals matches, along with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
He was drafted by New England in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. After starting 18 games as a rookie, he was cut the following season. Sporting KC picked him up almost immediately. He’s played 188 regular season matches in Kansas City in the ensuing eight seasons, starting 179 of them. Over the course of his tenure, the team averages 0.37 more points per match when he’s in the lineup.