Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
One notable face was missing as Sporting Kansas City kicked off their preparations ahead of the 2014 Major League Soccer season.
Starting right back Chance Myers has remained away from Sporting KC’s preseason camp in Tucson, Ariz. as he is out of contract and reportedly asking for a big pay raise for next season. However, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes believes that the two sides could be coming to an agreement in the coming days.
“I think we’re getting closer,” Vermes said told the Kansas City Star. “I think that’s in a positive way. Hopefully we’ll know something here today or tomorrow.”
Myers spent the last few weeks training with the U.S. Men’s National Team in California and Brazil, but while teammate Seth Sinovic arrived at Sporting KC from USMNT duty on Tuesday, Myers did not. Last season, Myers made $105,000 in base salary with $120,000 in total compensation.
If Myers and Sporting KC aren’t able to find a solution on a new contract, it’s expected that Kevin Ellis and Mechack Jerome will battle for the starting right back position.
On Tuesday, 52 days after their MLS Cup final victory against Real Salt Lake, Sporting KC took the field for the first game of their preseason slate. Taking place at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Sporting KC defeated local USL PDL club FC Tucson, 1-0, behind a C.J. Sapong first half goal.
Goalkeepers Erik Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum each played 45 minutes to combine for the shutout. As is usual for a preseason match, there were plenty of substitutions made at halftime. Homegrown player signing Erik Palmer-Brown came on in the second half in place of Aurelien Collin for his first unofficial action in a Sporting KC uniform.
“It’s exactly what we hoped to get out of it,” Vermes told Sporting KC’s website after the match. “I always say the first phase of preseason is about getting guys their minutes and about increasing their minutes game after game. The other is an evaluation phase, especially for a lot of the new guys coming in. As much as it’s hard to go in and do a strong evaluation of each guy, the good part is we’ve given them some ingredients on how we want to play.
“We haven’t given all of it to them and we’ve allowed them to freelance a little bit today and see what their soccer intelligence is. And I would say for the most part that all the guys did a decent job.”
Of course while Sinovic and Myers were released from USMNT camp, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Benny Feilhaber have remained with the USMNT in their squad for their friendly match on Saturday against South Korea.
Next up for Sporting KC is a scrimmage against the Portland Timbers on Saturday in Tucson.
What do you think of these developments? Do you see Myers returning to Sporting KC this season? Think that Jerome or Ellis would be a good enough replacement?
Share your thoughts below.