On the final day of permitted roster movement, Sporting Kansas City has turned to its affiliate for a late-season addition.
Sporting reached a homegrown agreement with midfielder Felipe Hernandez, sources told The Star. The contract will run through 2022, including option seasons, the sources said.
The MLS roster freeze deadline is Friday. Teams cannot add to their roster afterward. Sporting has no other moves planned before the deadline, sources said.
Hernandez, 21, initially joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2014 after playing with an academy affiliate in Nashville. He was born in Colombia but moved to Nashville and considers the latter his hometown. He is the 12th homegrown signing and the seventh currently on the roster, but he’s the first to arrive via the affiliate route.
Hernandez made an immediate impression, training with the team during preseason in 2015. He signed with the Swope Park Rangers, the team’s USL affiliate in 2016.
For three years, he’s been a fixture on that team, culminating in a breakout season this summer. In 20 starts in 2019, Hernandez has eight goals and three assists.
Over the past two seasons, his play with the Rangers has drawn praise from Sporting’s technical staff, intrigued by Hernandez’s work rate. He plays in the central midfield, similar to the spot occupied by Roger Espinoza with Sporting Kansas City.
His signing could prompt the club to take a look at him with the first team over the stretch run of the season. Sporting KC has seven game remaining, starting with Saturday’s home game against the Houston Dynamo.