Say goodbye to Seth Sinovic, Sporting Kansas City fans.
The Montreal Impact selected Sinovic, a 24-year Leawood native, with the 10th and final pick of Wednesday's expansion draft, effectively ending the Rockhurst High School graduate's short tenure with the club.
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Montreal selected Sinovic over more established players Sporting made available, including forward Omar Bravo and defender Michael Harrington, and with good reason. Sinovic was signed as a free agent in May and eventually came on to take Harrington's job at left back and start 20 games.
And with a base salary of around $32,000, he was definitely a terrific value last season. However, Sporting coach Peter Vermes said expansion guidelines forced him to make some tough decisions.
“That’s the dice you roll when you have a good team,” said Sporting coach Peter Vermes.
Vermes could protect only 11 players, and three of them were international. It stands to reason that’s why he protected high-paid veterans like goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and midfielder Júlio César, though its likely Montreal would balk at their price tags, much like they did with star designated player Omar Bravo, who Sporting left unprotected and was not taken.
“You make calculated decisions,” Vermes said. “Bravo is a significant financial undertaking, and they are in a French-speaking city and he is from a Spanish-speaking country. I wasn’t sure how attractive that would be to them.”
Vermes also said Bravo’s recent comments he made to a Spanish television statement in which he indicated displeasure with the way he was used in the playoffs had nothing to do with the decision.
As for the vacant left-back position, Harrington figures to get another shot at his old spot, though his greatest value is in his ability to play both fullback spots. Roger Espinoza, who started the season as a fullback but found success after a shift to the midfield, could also start at left back — though Vermes indicated Wednesday that’s not a move he’s quite prepared to make.
Vermes also said second-year defender Korede Aiyegbusi will also be in the mix.
“He’s definitely matured over the course of the year,” he said.
*Sporting also released four players it left unprotected in the expansion draft but did not get selected: midfielder Jéferson — who was signed as a designated player during the summer but was plagued by a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness — midfielder Craig Rocastle, defender Scott Lorenz and midfielder Miloš Stojčev.
The chances of any of the above four coming back appear to be slim, which is notable in Jéferson’s case. Vermes brought him in during the summer to be a impact-type midfielder, and signed him as a designated player. However, he was banged up during the majority of his tenure and made a minimal impact.
Vermes said he was interested in bringing him back at a better price, but Jéferson and his agent — who wanted his 2012 option picked up — weren’t interested in that, and the two sides went separate ways.
“I like him, and I definitely would like to have him on our team,” Vermes said. “But (that scenario) is gone now, so there’s not even a reason to talk about it.”