The first additions to Sporting Kansas City’s roster this offseason will be familiar to MLS.
Sporting KC signed league veteran Rodney Wallace to a one-year contract on Friday. And according to sources, the club agreed to trade a pair of draft picks to Vancouver in exchange for forward Erik Hurtado, who has been with the Whitecaps since they selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. To acquire Hurtado, Sporting KC relinquished a second-round selection in 2020 and its first-round pick in 2021.
In what’s likely to be a quiet winter for Sporting KC — relative to its past two — it’s the most significant moves the team has made since losing to Portland in the MLS Western Conference Finals last month.
Wallace has played with three MLS teams since his arrival in 2009, most recently a two-year stint with New York City FC. He plays on the left side of the field, either a left back position, in the midfield or as a left wing. He visited Kansas City on Friday with the intention of shopping his services, but he left with a decision.
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“There are a lot of key aspects here to winning — from the players and staff to the facilities and fans,” Wallace said in a statement provided by the team. “The soccer atmosphere in Kansas City gives the team that extra edge, and I am excited to come here and be part of something special.”
Wallace, a 30-year-old Costa Rican international, has 26 goals and 33 assists in 214 career appearances in the league. He won an MLS Cup in 2015 with the Portland Timbers. He was a member of the Costa Rica men’s national team during the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Sporting KC lists Wallace as a defender, implying he will compete with Seth Sinovic for the starting job at left back.
The two moves leave Sporting KC with five open roster spots.
“Rodney has strong qualities as a soccer player and the type of mentality we always search for,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “He is incredibly competitive and can impact the game with and without the ball. I see him fitting into our team really quickly.”
The addition of Hurtado, a center forward, follows the departure of Khiry Shelton, who opted to pursue opportunities to play in Europe. Shelton led Sporting KC with 15 starts at center forward in 2018.
Hurtado, 28, has 12 goals across 105 career league appearances, 47 of them as a starter. He’s oft-used as a speed weapon off the bench late in games, a role he’s likely to fill in Kansas City. He scored twice in 484 minutes in 2018.