Sporting Kansas City’s 2011 roster continues to take shape, following the team’s first pre-season match on Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona. The club announced four player moves on Monday, confirming the departure of forward Sunil Chhetri and defender Nick Kounenakis, as well as pre-season cuts that end the stays of 2011 draft picks J.T. Murray and Sam Scales.
Sporting did not pick up the option for Chhetri, 26, who was signed in March 2010 and appeared in two matches for Kansas City. He debuted in the team’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in match on April 13 against the Colorado Rapids, and entered as substitute against Manchester United on July 25th as he replaced Teal Bunbury in the 69th minute of Kansas City’s 2-1 upset of the Red Devils. Following the historic win, Chhetri was loaned to the India National Team for preparation leading up to the 2011 Asian Cup, in which he scored two goals last month.
Kounenakis was released by mutual consent ahead of the 2011 season. The 32-year-old central defender was signed in July 2010 to add depth to Kansas City’s backline but did not appear in any matches for the club in the 14 games he was available for selection during the regular season. Kounenakis wore No. 32 for Kansas City and made the 18-man roster in three consecutive matches after officially being added to the team following the approval of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 work visa.
Murray, 22, joined Kansas City after being selected 32nd overall in the 2nd Round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft last month. The defender was drafted from the University of Louisville, where he helped lead the Cardinals to the 2010 NCAA College Cup national championship.
Scales, a 21-year-old midfielder out of Ohio State University, was the fourth college player taken by Sporting Kansas City in the 2011 MLS draft process. Scales was added through the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft in January, the second college draft held by MLS, with the 10th overall pick in the 1st Round.
Sporting Kansas City is currently in Phoenix, Arizona for the third week of pre-season training and will complete an intra-squad scrimmage on Wednesday at 11 a.m. CT at the Reach 11 Sports Complex. Follow SportingKC.com for all the latest on Kansas City’s pre-season preparations for the historic 2011 season, highlighted by the opening of the team’s state-of-the-art stadium in June.