Sporting Kansas City selected forward C.J. Sapong from James Madison with the 10th pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The pick was a bit of a surprise, Sapong was among the Top 30 prospects going into the draft, but was not tabbed as a mid-first round pick.
But perhaps the most important news to come out of the draft for Sporting Kansas City is that defender Michael Harrington has agreed to a deal in principle. (This news came from KC president Robb Heineman via twitter. I've been told by Sporting KC that the deal must still be finalized by the league.)
In the second round, KC drafted Louisville defender/midfielder J.T. Murray. While in the third, KC selected Ohio State midfielder Konrad Warzycha (who is the son of Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha).
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Going into the draft, Kansas City's definitely needed help on defense, but many of the top defenders available (A.J. Soares, Jalil Anibaba, Perry Kitchen and Zarek Valentin) off the board at the 10th pick, So Kansas City went with a player they felt best fit their system.
"This guy is athletically incredible – very explosive, very powerful and he plays very well with his back to the goal," said Vermes. "We got one of the guys we were interested in, so it worked out.”"
However, there were other forwards available at the pick, including Generation adidas strikers Will Bruin (Indiana) and Corey Hertzog (Penn State). Both were drafted in following picks (Bruin to Houston at #11, Hertzog to New York at #13) and both were tipped as Top 10 talent in many MLS mock drafts. Worth noting, Bruin is from St. Louis.
Vermes says the team is exploring other options to fill the void in defense.
"We're still pursuing guys. We’re definitely gonna be adding some guys before the season. For sure, 100 percent. We know we need to get better at central defender and we’ve already identified more than one we’re trying to negotiate with."
Sapong is a strong, fast player, in the Teal Bunbury mold. He's listed at 6'2" and 185 lbs. and, in 71 career games at James Madison, he scored 37 goals and recorded 21 assists.
Immediately after being selected, Sapong said of his style of play, "I'm a hard worker. I play with a chip on my shoulder."
For fans wondering why Kansas City would take another forward (current roster: Bravo, Bunbury, Kamara, Diop), the answer is probably as simple as "There's no such thing as 'too many forwards' in a 4-3-3 formation." Also, there's a good chance that Bunbury might miss a few games this summer on national team duty. (There's also a good chance that Bunbury might not be around Kansas City if he keeps improving at the rate he did this year.)
The team loves Sapong's speed and his nose in front of goal. If you recall, scoring goals wasn't exactly a strength of this team last year.
I've found a few YouTube videos of him.
Video of J.T. Murray in action. In college, he played leftback but he could be a player with a lot of positional flexbility.
The details on the three players:C.J. Sapong – 10th Overall (1st Round)
College: James Madison University
Hometown: Manassas, Virginia
Citizenship: USAJ.T. Murray – 32nd Overall (2nd Round)
College: University of Louisville
Hometown: Grove City, Ohio
Citizenship: USAKonrad Warzycha – 46th Overall (3rd Round)
College: Ohio State
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio