The Full 90

Sporting locks up Sapong to contract extension

When C.J. Sapong scores, good things happen for Sporting Kansas City. In his short two-year career, the team is 7-0-0 when the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year finds the back of the net.

Hoping for a few more years of that kind of performance, Sporting announced Thursday that it has locked up the standout striker to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per club policy.

“It’s an amazing feeling, because I feel like I progressed so much this past year and I feel like I can progress even more,” Sapong said in a statement. “We have an amazing situation in Kansas City, from the ownership to staff to players to fans. It’s truly amazing to be a part of it all.”

Sapong, the 10th pick in last year’s MLS SuperDraft, scored six goals and five assists last season and was key to Kansas City’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. On Saturday, his late-game heroics lifted Sporting to a season-opening 1-0 victory at D.C. United.

In January, Sapong was invited to participate in the U.S. Men’s national team training camp and earned his first international appearances in victories over Venezuela and Panama.

Manager Peter Vermes said that signing the Manassas, Va., native was a priority this offseason as the team attempts to lock up several key players to new contracts. Deals for team captain Jimmy Nielsen, breakout midfielder Graham Zusi and Leawood-native Seth Sinovic have already been announced this year.

Sporting Kansas City’s home opener at Livestrong Sporting Park is Saturday against the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. Sapong is already in the history books at the stadium — he scored the first league goal there last year.

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