Hard to believe, but the feels-shorter-than-it-really-is offseason is just about over. It actually comes to an end for Sporting Kansas City on Thursday when the team holds its entrance physicals. The pre-preseason training camp starts on Friday.
The only thing left is the Supplemental Draft -- four rounds done via teleconference -- held tomorrow.
What can you expect and what should you know about the week ahead?1. Sporting KC haven't finished making transactions yet.
Peter Vermes has been active this year on the domestic market -- I expect that trend continues tomorrow. Sporting has four picks in the Supplemental Draft (#16, #35, #43, #54 and #73) and I wouldn't be surprised if they were looking to deal one.
After drafting a striker (Dom Dwyer) and a central defender (Cyprian Hedrick) last week, KC will probably look for depth at outside back and midfield or, perhaps, just pick the best player available tomorrow. It's not like you're going into this draft looking to find a starter.
Peter Vermes would like to have more players and more competition.3. Sporting KC will continue to add players this off-season.
There are 27 players currently on the roster -- only 30 players can be on the roster at the beginning of the season. This doesn't mean KC will stand pat with the guys they have.
There will be trialists* (international and domestic), at least two signings (if you follow Robb Heineman's tweets), probably a Sporting KC junior or two**, and the supplemental picks fighting for the precious roster spots the next month and a half.*I'm not sure how many trialists we'll reach this year, but I think we hit double digits in 2011.
**Something I'll be watching closely is whether we'll have another Kevin Ellis this year. Ellis was a former Sporting KC Junior who trialed during a preseason camp and impressed enough to earn a Homegrown contract. 4. It's too early (way too early) to count KC's international slots.
Sure, it appears on the surface that KC has filled all seven spots with Jimmy Nielsen, Aurelien Collin, Korede Aiyegbusi, Julio Cesar, Daneil Cyrus, Peterson Joseph and rookie Dom Dwyer. But, that's absolutely not a cause for any concern what-so-ever.
Why? Well, I'll give you three reasons. 1) Nielsen, Collin and/or Aiyegbusi could/should sort out their green cards -- in the case of Aiyegbusi, I have no idea how he doesn't have one since he went to school in North Carolina; 2) There is no certainty that Aiyegbusi, Joseph and/or Cyrus will make the team; and 3) If Vermes needs another slot, he can just trade for one -- and has the right trade bait with someone like Michael Harrington.
There is plenty of time to sort the roster out.5. At some point in the next two weeks, a blogger (perhaps me) will fall in love with a trialist who doesn't make the team.
Last year, it wasAdda Djeziri
. Tall, left-footed, solid winger, excellent on the ball. Where is he now? I have no idea. Denmark or something.6. Training camp -- wherever it may be -- is not open to the public.
Sporting hasn't announced where the training camp will be. The last few years, the camp has been held at Arrowhead's indoor training facility. Doesn't matter, it's media only. (If it is at Arrowhead, I'm just hoping they let me in afterthis Star story from Kent Babb
-- it's a must read if you've missed it.)7. The most interesting position battle is yet to be fought.
While it will be interesting to see if Michael Harrington can fight himself back into the starting lineup, if Bobby Convey can replace Omar Bravo's contribution on the field or if Paulo Nagamura can unseat Juilo Cesar in the middle, I'm looking forward to watching Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong duke it out for the starting central striker job.
Of course, that has to be put off until both men return from waging, essentially, the same battle at the U.S. national team camp.