Sporting KC land Feilhaber from Revs

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Benny Feilhaber will return to Major League Soccer in 2013, and he will do so as a member of one of the strongest teams in the league.

Sporting Kansas City acquired Feilhaber from New England on Tuesday afternoon, sending allocation money, a first-round pick in the 2014 MLS Draft and second-round pick in the 2015 MLS Draft to the New England Revolution.

Feilhaber adds to a stacked Sporting KC team that finished first in the Eastern Conference in the 2012 regular season, as he will play alongside talented offensive players like Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Graham Zusi.

“I am really excited to come to Sporting Kansas City,” Feilhaber said in a statement released by Sporting KC. “It is a top-class organization and team in Major League Soccer. My goal is to help the team however I can. I cannot wait to play in the best stadium in the League and in front of a great fan base. I am already hyped for the first home game.”

The 27-year-old Feilhaber had become surplus to requirements with the Revolution late in the year and they declined his contract option a few weeks into the offseason, leaving his future in MLS in limbo. But Sporting KC believes Feilhaber will help them as they prepare to defend their U.S. Open Cup title and make runs at the MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions League in 2013.

“Benny is an excellent two-way, box-to-box midfielder who has tremendous ability, especially with the final pass,” Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes said in a statement. “His experience with the U.S. National Team programs and playing overseas will serve him well in our system.”

In his two years with the Revolution, Feilhaber started in 46 of the 52 league games he played in. The World Cup veteran and former U.S. Men’s National Team player scored four goals and assisted on seven others while in New England.


What do you think of Sporting KC acquiring Feilhaber? Expecting him to flourish? Think the Revolution received enough in the trade?

Share your thoughts below.

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69 Responses to Sporting KC land Feilhaber from Revs

  1. Pot Stirrer says:

    So Zusi is going to Europe, eh?

    • Danielofthedale says:

      That is exactly the thought I had when I first saw this.

    • Gnarls says:

      That’s best case scenario from a USMNT perspective.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Yep, they are identical players so they are CYA.

      • JasonKUSA says:

        I still think Feilhaber could play with Zusi in the midfield. I still think Feilhaber is a great player, and he probably would have had double digit assists this year if anyone on the Revs actually finished.

        Here is a possible midfield/attack:
        Convey Sapong Kamara
        Zusi Benny
        Uri or Nagamura

        • beachbum says:

          it appears you actually watch the games Benny played for that awful team, the New Englan Revolution. Now on a team in an atmosphere like KC he may just break out

          this is a good deal for both teams which were in need of different pieces imo, and they worked toogether for mutual benefit

      • Eric says:

        Zusi and Feilhaber are not identical players at all. Zusi is a set piece specialist who drives at defenders with his high work rate; Feilhaber is much more technical with better vision in the run of play. They can complement each other quite well in the right system. No way PV would have traded for Feilhaber if he didn’t think he and Zusi could flourish side-by-side.

      • Shawn says:

        They’re not identical in any way. Zusi typically plays on the flanks of SKC’s attack, and I could easily see him pushing into a wing role in the 4-3-3 next season (one he’s played on occasion already). Benny is best anchored in the middle of the park as a deep-lying playmaker.

        So there’s plenty of room for both of them on the pitch. The only question I have with this is the allocation money, because there’s rumors SKC is going after a Czech striker as well.

        • Eric says:

          SKC got allocation money from Portland in the Michael Harrington trade. Wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they used to land Feilhaber.

        • Helium-3 says:

          Zusi is not a winger or flank player. Just because he plays there out of position doesnt mean that’s his best position. His best position is behind the forwards but since he’s such an impact on the field, they put him on the outside so he gets more space and allow less versatile players in the middle. You notice why he has tendencies to go to the middle?

  2. Francois says:

    What is Vermes talking about? Benny isn’t a box-to-box midfielder. If he is expecting to play him in Roger Espinosa’s old role, i’m sure he’ll realize that is not his game.

  3. A says:

    Highway robbery by Sporting KC. Benny could easily be the final piece of the puzzle.

    Convey – Feilhaber – Rossel – Zusi

    Easily the most technically gifted midfield in MLS. They are going to play some beautiful soccer.

    • uksubs says:

      if by beautiful soccer you mean lobbing crosses for 90 mins

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        Benny is still a great player. He just didnt mesh well NE. With Zusi and Benny, SKC has creativity on the wings and in the middle of their midfield.

        They certainly have a strong midfield on paper. Roger Espinoza will be missed though.

    • Charles says:

      Hmmm, gonna take Zakuani, Rosales, Alonso, and Tifferent over that midfield. Espinoza will be missed big time.

      • Bobb says:

        LOL: Tiffert has shown nothing, Zakuani is still coming off injury, and Rosales is always getting injured.
        Not that Convey and Rossel are anything special…

    • Gnarls says:

      “They are going to play some beautiful soccer.”
      The hyperbole award goes to you, my friend. Pssssh, beautiful soccer. Funny.

      • ed - houston says:

        lol, yeah, leave it to SKC and seattle fans to tout a line up on “paper” as “technically gifted”. smh.

  4. atd says:

    This is an excellent bit of business for SKC.

  5. Hogatroge says:

    As a USMNT fan, I think this is good. Under Vermes, Benny’s attitude problems may get sorted out. This also helps SKC’s prospects in next year’s CCL.

    As a Dynamo fan, though, I’m not too pumped.

    • ManUMan says:

      I think you are correct on the attitude issues. Kei wasn’t always the happy guy he is today. If Vermes can help Feilhaber in a similar fashion, I think this really adds to KC’s attacking arsenal. No offense but perhaps he helps us get over the Dynamo hurdle in the playoffs.

      • Eric says:

        True story. And after having an extremely public falling-out with Frank Yallop in San Jose, there hasn’t been a peep of dissent from Bobby Convey in his first year under Vermes.

        I know Feilhaber has a rep for not being especially easy to work with, but Vermes seems to be very good at getting his players to buy into his system and vision.

  6. Scott says:

    Good work from the Revs. He didn’t fit in New England.

  7. jon says:

    i love benny’s game and hope he can find a foothold somewhere… fyi, i really don’t like the phrase “surplus to requirements.” a clunky meaningless britishism

  8. beto says:

    wow great fit for Feilhaber, and they did pay up for him! NE should be thankful.

  9. David s. says:

    I don’t get this guy at all. He sure seems to have enough talent to help a team at a pretty decent level of play, but he’s about to turn 28 and even ‘journeyman’ would be a generous assessment of his career up to this point. Given that, I kinda doubt it will really work out for him in KC either, but who knows, maybe this will be the club where he finally clicks. Worth a flier on.

    • Michael F. says:

      But it was a flier. They gave up A Lot. Too much IMHO.

      • Michael F. says:

        I meant wasn’t a flier.

      • Mike in Missouri says:

        normally, yes. However, SKC is the youngest team in the league. Our draft picks this year didn’t even see the field in league action. Our players will all be in their prime in a few years, so it may be 5-6 years before any current draft picks contribute. If any team can afford to give out draft picks, it’s SKC. Those picks mean a lot more to NE to SKC, so it’s a classic win-win.

    • atd says:

      You call him a journeyman, which is perfectly fair in light of his mediocre club record. I’ll call him a World Cup veteran who helped end the longest unbeaten streak in the history of international soccer and also won us the Gold Cup — which is no less true.

      This will be the first time he’s been in a good club situation. Let’s see how it goes.

  10. Daniel says:

    Feilhaber with Rossel and Nagamura will be a good midfield. Both Feilhaver and Rossel will be pushing forward with Nagamura shielding the backline. More of a 4-1-2-3. Opposing Ds will have to focus a lot more on 5 good O-minded players then they will be able to push their game forward.

    • Daniel says:

      This addresses what they lacked last year. Someone not always lobbing in crosses, willing to play the correct pass, and more importantly play killer pass so the forwards can get off a quality shot

    • Sal says:

      I agree with the formation but Nagumura cannot be counted on to be starter. They still need a couple of pieces. They lost a lot of defensive pressure with Espinoza. They need to bring in Dockal and a D-Mid. Nagamura is just depth.

      • Daniel says:

        I agree completely. Losing Cesar is a big deal. While not the quickest he played smart and was usually well positioned to stop the break. If SKC can land a smart, hard nosed, aggressive d-mid in the vein of a Rico Clark then SKC will shut down teams and easily kill them off

  11. jerrry says:

    No one is a good fit for New England, thats the last club any player with Benny’s pedigree and experience would want to land in after playing at the World Cup for the USA and in Europe.

    70k stadium with only 13k ppl there, football lines, turf, cold weather…Im sure when he found out he was going to NE, he thought “Damn, i came back from Europe for this!??!?!” Now he’s going to a Solid Club, with great fans, amazing stadium and an amazing field…

    He’ll do well based on the fact that he’s gonna play in a soccer specific stadium and not some giant football stadium with turf on it.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I never thought astroturf was the best landing place for someone trying to re-boot their career after knee injuries and some European wilderness years. So KC plays on grass and the outlay on the trade expresses esteem.

      I think it will also help to be on a ready made playoff team rather than a NE unit that’s been struggling for a few years. That being said, Vermes needs to learn some tactical variety.

      • beachbum says:

        good points all. On Vermes I am guessing you speak of his apparent always-attack mentality whatever the score?

  12. wilyboy says:

    I hope him and Zusi can’t work it out. Hope.

  13. Danglin Breast says:

    Will he thrive in another environment, I’d think so, we have to see what happens. That said, New England Revolution is such a depressing place to play, humongous stadium, cheap owners etc…

  14. soccerfan says:

    Benny is a complimentary player…. In NE people were making him out to be “da man”, which is something Benny’s psycki can’t handle…. as a complimentary role in KC where there are other established studs, he could flourish…. just a thought

  15. Eric says:

    As an SKC fan, I’m pleased with the trade. Giving up the first-round pick sucks, but we had a hard time creating chances in the run of play last year (many of Zusi’s assists came on set pieces), and that’s the hole Feilhaber most immediately fills.

    We still need a clinical finisher up top, though. But I do see Benny as one piece of the puzzle to us finally winning an MLS Cup or Supporter’s Shield.

  16. BlacknBlueKC says:

    As a SKC supporter who hates Benny and thinks he’s been overrated ever since 2007 Gold Cup, this sucks. Terrible!

  17. Mike in Missouri says:

    So KC’s starting lineup could be:


    Myers—-DOY #1——DOY#2———-Sinovic




    Pretty stout starting lineup. Plus, Benny gives us a ton of flexibility in the midfield and more skill, so hopefully we can slow the game down a bit when on offense, which will help our finishing along with his passing and Zusi’s crossing.

    Still need one more forward who’s a clinical finisher, but it’s starting to look very good for the team that is reaching its prime.

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      Plus, a slight tilt bringing the LF back into the midfield and Zusi up to the right and we have a nice 4-4-2 diamond if the DM can handle it. Tactical flexibility will be the nicest thing about this trade.

    • Eric says:

      PV could also theoretically put Zusi on the RW and Kamara on the LW, with a midfield trio of Rosell/Nagamura/Feilhaber.

      Olum and Convey aren’t really options in the midfield, though–Convey is purely a flank player, and Olum is way too slow for the midfield.

      • Mike in Missouri says:

        Olum can play DM in a pinch, and actually did play there a few games before PV switched him back to CM back up.

        One thing’s for sure, unless Nagamura is an every game starter, we’re definitely playing a different style next year.

        • Eric says:

          Nags can start every game if he can stay healthy (granted, that’s a big “if”).

          Sure, Olum can be an emergency holding mid, but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement. Rosell, Nagamura, and Michael Thomas all should be ahead of him on the depth chart at holding mid.

          I agree we’re likely going to see a somewhat different variation of the 4-3-3, though.

          • Dick Tracy says:

            I could see PV giving Michael Thomas a good hard look this off-season in a starting role. Rosell and Feilhaber should be locks in the mid triangle. Naga will be there but he does not quite fill Espinoza’s shoes as we saw last year. Yeah, Naga was banged up, but he does not fill that role entirely. I think we see Michael Thomas squeak in the starting XI.

            Zusi, I believe will continue to be used on the flank. When Bunbury comes back full-strength, maybe then we see some shuffling.

  18. JoeW says:

    This “might” be a strong addition for KC. Feilhaber has great technical ability and lots of potential. And people have been saying that for 6 years now. He shows glimpses but not consistent performance. Even if you argue that NE was a terrible fit, the reality is that he wasn’t that impressive last year. KC’s system starts with high pressure and tremendous workrate. We’ll see if that’s something Feilhaber can provide–if he can’t than he sits.

    I think it’s a clear win for NE. They gave up a big salary, someone who is surplus to requirements, and got a #1 and #2 pick in the draft. It’s potentially a good addition for KC–he’s a technically strong veteran. But does he fit in? And could they have gotten someone as good for less (less money, no draft picks)?

  19. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

    Sporting KC is gonna be a problem.

  20. Sal says:

    While he is not as tenacious as Espinoza, Benny brings more technical ability. SKC needs this in central midfield. Rosell brought some of this in limited minutes.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      I think people should first understand they did not bring in Benny to replace Roger Espinoza, they brought in Benny for depth.