2018 Key Transfers: Sporting Kansas City

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Sporting Kansas City and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

Sporting Kansas City will class the 2017 campaign as a successful one. Yes, they failed to get beyond the Knockout Round for the fourth-straight year. But they did win the US Open Cup in September and also boasted the league’s best defence, conceding just 29 in 34 games. The aim this year will be to remain tight at the back but improve the attack. They had the third-worst offence in 2017 and will hope their busy offseason work can help them in front of goal…

Key Signings

Khiry Shelton: Shelton joins Sporting KC from New York City FC, where he had been since being drafted with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. He was mainly used as an impact player off the bench for NYCFC – a role he might have to accept at SKC too. But in 54 appearances, he managed six goals and 10 assists. He’s still only 24 and will hope a change of scenery can spark his MLS career into life.

Johnny Russell: Scottish attacker Russell made the move from English Championship side Derby County to Sporting Kansas City for an estimated £250,000. His contract was due to expire in the summer after five seasons with the Rams and he decided to make the move to MLS in time for the new season. He should be fresh, having only started 13 games during Derby’s 2017/18 league campaign. Expect the 27-year-old to slot in on the wing for SKC this season in a key role.

Brad Evans: MLS veteran Evans joins from Seattle, where he spent the past nine seasons, winning the MLS Cup in 2016. He is unlikely to find his way into the starting XI on a regular basis but he is a great option for depth in a number of positions. Plus, his experience will prove invaluable in the dressing room over the course of the season.

Yohan Croizet: Sporting KC have brought in the 26-year-old Croizet as a Designated Player ahead of the 2018 season, in the hope he can fill the void left by Benny Feilhaber’s departure. The Frenchman joins from Belgian side KV Mechelen, where he scored five goals and assisted seven in 54 games. He is expected to be a key man for SKC in 2018 and fans will hope he can settle quickly into the league.

Felipe Gutierrez: Another Designated Player signing expected to add a real spark to Sporting KC’s attack is Felipe Gutierrez. The 27-year-old Chilean midfielder joins after leaving Real Betis and could prove to be one of the signings of the season. He has 35 Chile caps to his name and is incredibly experienced, having played well over 200 games for four clubs in four different nations. He should adapt quickly to MLS and will either shine in the No. 10 role, or as a box-to-box midfielder, if Croizet is preferred in the No. 10 position.

Notable Departures

Benny Feilhaber: Sporting Kansas City waved goodbye to a real fan favourite, sending Feilhaber to expansion side LAFC in return for $400,000 in allocation money. SKC fans were quick to panic following the 33-year-old’s departure but he was in the final year of his contract and so cashing in now makes sense. He registered 29 goals and 41 assists in five seasons with Sporting KC, also winning MLS Cup in 2013. No doubt, he will be missed on and off the field.

Latif Blessing: Following Feilhaber to LAFC is 21-year-old attacker Latif Blessing, who was also something of a fan favourite in 2017. He only spent one season with SKC, but did score three goals and add one assist in what was a promising campaign for someone so young. The Ghanaian was selected in the second round of the 2017 Expansion Draft after being left unprotected by Sporting KC.

Erik Palmer-Brown: U.S. Under-20 international Palmer-Brown completed a move to Manchester City this winter. He wasn’t a regular in the SKC team but he is a player with huge potential, hence why Man City have decided to make a move for him. The youngster has since be loaned out to Belgian First Division A club KV Kortrijk until the summer. The centre-back played a total of 20 games in his four seasons with SKC, while he spent 2016 on loan at FC Porto.


MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be buying for Week 2?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

The first week of the MLS season was full of goals, thrills and spills. From Orlando City’s more than miraculous stoppage time comeback against RSL, to Michael Harrington and Joao Meira’s beautifully accidental assist for NYCFC striker Tony Taylor’s goal, the opening round of games had it all.

However, the first week of the MLS season also meant the start of the 2016 MLS Fantasy campaign and managers will be left with plenty to reflect on after the first weekend’s action.

Week 1 Review:

The Good

The standout performance of the weekend has to be Ignacio Piatti’s ($10.2) two-goal and one-assist haul against Vancouver, which won Montreal the game and saw him rack up 20 points. The surprises of the first weekend were Daniel Steres ($5.2), scoring on his debut for the Galaxy in their 4-1 win over DC United and Khiry Shelton ($6.1), who not only started, but scored and picked up an assist along the way in NYCFC’s incredible 4-3 win over Chicago Fire. The only defender to score and to keep a clean sheet this week was Nuno Coelho ($7.7) of SKC, who earned 16 points in his first ever MLS appearance.

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The Bad

Demar Phillips ($6.8) of Real Salt Lake was probably the worst MLS Fantasy player of the weekend after making the biggest mistake on opening day. He was sent off just 19 minutes into his side’s game against Orlando City for picking up two yellow cards, the second of which was issued for his flying scissor kick, which connected with with OCSC front man Cyle Larin ($9.1). The defender received a score of -3 points for the opening weekend, and he will now miss a crucial game against Seattle. However, this was not the only red card at the Citrus Bowl, as Darwin Ceren ($6.6) picked up a straight red card on the stroke of halftime with his side already a goal down. Seattle Sounders’ Oneil Fisher ($5.3) was the other player to receive a red card during the opening weekend of the MLS season and won’t want to remember his negative points tally of -2.

It wasn’t a good day either for Chicago’s debutant Joao Meira ($7.4). The defender endured a woeful performance in his side’s 4-3 home defeat to New York City FC, in which he not only conceded four and pick up a yellow card, but was directly at fault for NYCFC’s second goal. He kicked teammate Michael Harrington in the head, and by doing so, prevented Harrington clearing a cross which Tony Taylor proceeded to convert. Not an MLS debut to remember for Meira!

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Week 2 Preview:

The Must Buys

New York City’s Khiry Shelton ($6.1) could be a cheap option in your fantasy team this week and beyond, as he should retain his starting place after his stellar performance against the Fire. With four consecutive home games upcoming against Toronto, Orlando, New England and Chicago, NYCFC’s Shelton could be the value for money option over the next few weeks.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Jordi Quintilla ($5.6) is another cheap option to add to your side. The club also have a run of home games upcoming, the first of which is against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who surprisingly fell to the Drogba-less Montreal Impact on Sunday. Quintilla tallied eight points in a tough away fixture against Seattle last weekend as he picked up an assist for the game’s only goal. Could this performance be a sign of things to come? 

Last on the list is Cyle Larin ($9.1). The Orlando City forward scored a goal and set up another in injury time to earn his side an impressive 2-2 draw in a rollercoaster game against Real Salt Lake. Larin must be licking his lips at the thought of getting to play against the already faltering defence of Chicago Fire next. This is a perfect opportunity for Larin to continue to prove that last season was no fluke.

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The Must Sells

Anyone who has Demar Phillips ($6.8), Oneil Fisher ($5.3) or Darwin Ceren ($6.6) I’m sure will consider selling them as they all received red cards, so their value could be spent better elsewhere for at least the next Gameweek. Some people may be worried about Kaka’s ($10.5) injury which looks set to keep him out for a few weeks yet – so taking a punt on Argentinian duo Mauro Diaz ($10.2) or Ignacio Piatti ($10.2) may be worth it – especially as neither of them will be affected by the international break in Week 4. Anyone who didn’t remove injured Red Bulls attacker Gonzalo Veron ($9.0) before Week 1 may wish to take their chance to now, along with the small percentage of people who still have NYCFC’s Jack Harrison ($5.5) in their side as he is still around a month from full fitness.

In the MLSGB Fantasy League, the top scorer with 101 points was Mack’s team, Mack Legend. Mack wisely placed Giovinco as captain, which gained him 22 points, while also picking up points from Ignacio Piatti, Cyle Larin, Fabian Castillo and Drew Moor in his Starting XI for Week 1.

You can still join the MLSGB Fantasy League by using code: 4670-1287.

Who will you be transferring in for Gameweek 2?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: New York City FC

As the 2015 season draws closer, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what New York City FC will be hoping to achieve in their first-ever season…

We’re extremely excited for the arrival of New York City FC into Major League Soccer, and fans across the league will be looking forward to seeing how they get on in their first-ever campaign. With players like David Villa and Frank Lampard as part of their inaugural roster, they boast some fine talent. But this is their first season and so there is always going to be doubt over the potential of this side. Only time will tell if they are ready to take MLS by storm.

Last season’s finish: N/A (Inaugural Season)

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via NYCFC.com)

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via NYCFC.com)

What to expect this year:

As this is their first season there is no bar set. However, with the money invested in the squad, New York City will need to at least make the playoffs for 2015 to be deemed a success. Much depends on the arrival of Frank Lampard in July and the extent of his impact will play a major part in their accomplishments this season. They also have David Villa up front however, so they should still be fine until Lampard arrives and will hope to make a good start to life in MLS.

Key changes to the squad:

With this being the first-ever NYCFC squad there have been endless arrivals. The following players are the key additions.

Ins: David Villa – Striker (Designated Player), Frank Lampard – Midfielder (Designated Player), Mix Diskerud – Midfielder, Patrick Mullins – Forward, Ned Grabavoy – Midfielder, Adam Nemec – Forward

Outs: N/A

Key player: David Villa – Forward

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World Cup winner, David Villa is expected to spearhead the New York City attack and what a man to do it. NYCFC has spared no expense in bringing in the decorated striker who boasts his previous clubs as Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. The Spaniard is a great addition to the franchise and he will be the marquee man to lead this club forward for their first campaign and beyond. Expect goals and lots of them.

One to watch: Khiry Shelton

First round MLS SuperDraft pick, Khiry Shelton has a running style that looks effortless and so he will glide past defenders. Should he get his chance this year, we’re expecting him to make a huge impact. He could form a lethal partnership with David Villa in attack if given the opportunity and the pair demonstrated their chemistry in NYCFC’s preseason draw with Orlando City in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 5th

Reaching the playoffs in their first-ever season will be the aim for New York City. Failure to do so would be seen as unacceptable given the amount that has been invested in this squad. Jason Kreis has the players at his disposal and must find a way to get the team ticking as quickly as possible. The Eastern Conference will be fiercely competitive but with stars like David Villa and Frank Lampard on their team, NYCFC must make sure they reach the postseason.

How will New York City fare in their first-ever MLS campaign?

MLS New Star: Khiry Shelton – New York City FC

Last season: College Soccer at Oregon State

Position: Striker

Last Season’s stats: 9 Goals and 12 assists in 18 appearances

Khiry Shelton was selected second overall by New York City FC in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft earlier this month after an impressive season with the Oregon State Beavers. He was also extremely impressive in the MLS Combine prior to the draft and will be playing with the likes of David Villa and Frank Lampard this coming season.

While at Oregon State, Shelton became an NSCAA All-American Second team. And showed glimpses of his potential at the MLS Combine earlier this month.

Khiry Shelton in action for the Oregon State Beavers

Khiry Shelton in action for the Oregon State Beavers

At 6’3’ he has the size to cause problems to defences across the league and he is not lacking in pace. He will provide a dynamic edge to the New York City attack in 2015 and beyond.

Hard to say how much game time he will see as New York City have David Villa and Patrick Mullins on their roster too. But when he does see the field we expect him to make an impact.

At 21, Shelton has years in front of him and New York has made a solid investment in the young striker. He is definitely a name to remember.

Will Khiry Shelton make an impact with New York City FC in 2015?