Sporting, Current improve rosters to prep season


The season is heating up in the Soccer Capital of America, and local teams Sporting Kansas City and Kansas City Current are making moves for success. 

After not making the playoffs in the 2022 season, Sporting Kansas City has much to prove. In addition to veterans such as goalkeeper Tim Melia, defender Graham Zusi, and forward Johnny Russell, new signings are bringing a bright spot to this teams 2023 campaign. 

In 2022 and through the off-season, Sporting’s defense has proven troublesome. Simple plays have turned to turnovers leading to costly and decisive goals conceded, and with an offense that has had trouble converting dangerous attacks to goals, Sporting was led to a 12th place finish in the Western conference with a 11-16-7 record. New signings, Colombian center back Dany Rosero, former Nashville SC center back Robert Castellanos, draft pick defender Chris Rindov, and German left back Tim Leibold, combined with the experience throughout the rest of the back line in players such as Zusi and Melia shape up for more success on the defensive end. 

However teams cannot win games without a strong offense. Veterans Johnny Russell and Daniel Sallói lead a technical and aggressive offense from the outside. Most of the inconsistency in the offense is at the 9. While only making 12 appearances, William “Willy” Agada was tied for the 2022 season’s golden boot with Russell at 8 goals. With Agada at the 9 and Russell and Sallói on the wings, Sporting can lead a very promising attack. Also back this season is striker Alan Pulido. Pulido was out the entirety of 2022 after a season ending knee surgery. Pulido has been listed as “questionable” on the injury report in their first two contests of the 2023 season as he is working back to full fitness in order to work in with Agada for the first string spot in the 9. 

With new additions and veteran leadership, Sporting KC looks to become very successful in the season with eyes set on the playoffs this season.

While Sporting KC did not have a successful 2022 season, NWSL team the Kansas City Current was quite the opposite. With a fifth place finish in the league with a 10-6-6 record, the Current truly shined in the NWSL championships where they finished as the runner up in a 2-0 loss to the Portland Thorns. With a league title within grasp for the Current last season, they are hungry for more. This is proven with the changes to their roster for the upcoming season. 

Starting off with moves from the draft, the Current comes with an aggressive offense. Trading with NY/NJ Gothom FC for the No. 2 pick in the draft mere days before it took place, the Current gave up USWNT forward Lynn Williams. Williams, a force on offense, just recovered from an injury which caused her to miss the entirety of the 2022 season. This loss to their offense was not in vain, the Current used the second pick to select forward Michelle Cooper of Duke University. In her two years at Duke, Cooper earned a goal or an assist in almost 75% of the games she played. Also from the draft, forward Alexa Spaanstra of the University of Virginia was selected. In her collegiate career, Spaanstra was selected to the ACC All-Tournament team three times. But the new additions did not only come from the draft.

The Current made waves through trading in the off-season. From the Chicago Red Stars, the Current traded for midfielders Morgan Gautrat and Vanessa Dibernardo. They also signed Brazilian national team midfielder Debihna as a free agent. Debihna is fifth in all time goals in the NWSL and will bring great experience to the midfield. Debihna is not the only foreign player signed in the off-season. They have signed Swedish national team defender Hanna Glas and forward Mimmi Larson. 

With all of the new signings combined with the returning players such as Lo’eau Labonta, Adrianna “AD” Franch, and Hailie Mace, the Current will be a force to be reckoned with this upcoming NWSL season.