Sporting Notebook: KC's "busiest offseason"
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City fans have seen the last of longtime stalwarts Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff.
Wolff was taken by D.C. United with the first overall pick in Wednesday’s Re-Entry draft, signing a deal with the club almost immediately, while Conrad was selected one pick later and second overall by Chivas USA.
"Jimmy and Josh have each been an integral part of this team for a long time," manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. "We appreciate all of their contributions both on and off the field during their tenures, and wish each of them the best as they continue their careers."
Kansas City selected Columbus Crew defender Frankie Hejduk with the eighth pick of the draft, and later traded his rights to the Los Angeles Galaxy for the rights to midfielder Luke Sassano, whom the Galaxy also selected in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft.
Sporting now have seven days to tender a reasonable offer to Sassano. If an offer is made and no agreement is reached, the club will hold the right of first refusal on the 25-year-old’s services in MLS.
Vermes is expected to comment more on the moves on Thursday.
KC close to first offseason signing
With rumors abounding, it seems Kansas City are almost ready to announce their first offseason acquisition. Vermes didn’t name names, but he said the club was close to finalizing a deal for a “defending” player, barring any setbacks.
“There is one player that we have crossed a couple very important bridges with,” Vermes said. “Now we have one last little piece to get finalized. It’s really out of our control at this moment. There are a few other targets that we have on our radar. We are in the process of getting a couple of those deals done as well.”
Nielsen option picked up, Harrington negotiations continue
While Conrad and Wolff will not return to Kansas City in 2011, Jimmy Nielsen will be back in goal for the club.
Vermes confirmed via text message Wednesday that Sporting had picked up the option on goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s contract, keeping him with the team for at least one more season.
Sporting are still waiting for word on Michael Harrington, who is out of contract but was not eligible for the Re-Entry Process.
Vermes said last week that negotiations were ongoing and the ball was in Harrington and his agent’s court, adding Wednesday that he hadn’t yet heard back from either but wasn't concerned.
“This is the busiest the offseason has ever been,” Vermes said. “I think we are still in the same place.”
Three players targeted from Caribbean combine
Kansas City scouted a number of interesting roster options on their recent trip to Trinidad and Tobago, but Vermes said no decision is likely be made on the three players the club identified as potential targets until the preseason.
In what is often standard operating procedure with relatively unknown players, Vermes said he hoped to bring in all three during the club’s second preseason phase in Arizona to see if they meshed with the rest of the roster and the level of play.
“Traditionally, it’s pretty easy at that point to see if that guy is going to fit in with our team,” Vermes said. “We have high hopes that these guys would join our roster.”