By Drew Farmer – Twitter: @CalcioFarmer
Benny Feilhaber joined Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2013 season in a blockbuster Major League Soccer trade from New England Revolution. His arrival, a coup for the club, was seen as a young attacking team only getting stronger as Feilhaber joined the likes of top Sporting stars Graham Zusi and Matt Besler.
While Feilhaber played an important part in 2013, helping Sporting lift the MLS Cup, the midfielder was always another cog in the team wheel. The 2014 season, a down year in terms of the rise Sporting had shown since their move to Sporting Park, was a solid, if not unspectacular campaign.
However this season, Feilhaber’s third in the Midwest, the US international is putting up career numbers. In 14 games this term, Feilhaber has five goals and seven assists, surpassing his offensive output in his MLS career thus far.Embed from Getty Images
His current contributions have put the former Derby County man head-to-head with Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco in an early season dual for the league’s MVP award.
Since April 19, Sporting are unbeaten in a seven game stretch that has seen the team rise up the Western Conference table. That run of form has seen the midfielder score all five of his goals as well as add one assist to his 2015 resume.
In last weekend’s win over the Seattle Sounders, it was Feilhaber’s coolly placed penalty that helped the team defeat their Western Conference rivals. That penalty, though won from a contentious foul, helped Sporting beat Seattle for the first time since 2009; and pulled the club to within two points of the Sounders.
“It’s great to reverse the fortune for us,” the midfielder explained to SportingKC.com. “We definitely didn’t want to give up anything late.Embed from Getty Images
“That has been a problem when we’ve played against them [Seattle] and it was nice to get one late for ourselves.
“Like I keep saying, the most important thing for us is that we keep getting three points and we are very happy with that. We are happy to get that in front of our fans and I think that goes a long way in the standings.”
This summer will mark the eight year anniversary of the midfielder’s winning goal against Mexico in the 2007 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. The USA will kickoff this year’s Gold Cup campaign on July 7 against Honduras.
Currently, Feilhaber is on the outside looking in on Jurgen Klinsmann’s US Men’s National Team. Based on form, there is no reason Feilhaber shouldn’t be in the team’s squad for this summer’s Gold Cup. But Klinsmann has shown US soccer fans that he is his own man when selecting players.Embed from Getty Images
Feilhaber’s last call-up was in February 2014 when he made an appearance against South Korea. While form over the course of the last three seasons hasn’t necessarily warranted a call-up compared to his contemporaries, the former Gold Cup winner is deserving of one now.
While Feilhaber may be the USA’s loss, Sporting coach Peter Vermes will be happy to have his star midfielder sitting out. Sporting are playing well and a repeat of the club’s 2013 MLS Cup winning form is apparent. With the fewest number of losses in MLS in 2015, Sporting’s ”Blue Hell” is proving a heaven for Benny Feilhaber.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and US soccer.