Sporting KC's Graham Zusi talks Wilson Harris: "The guy is just a natural goal scorer"

Sporting Kansas City forward Wilson Harris is already a proven goal scorer at the professional level. After all, the California native and Sporting KC II Academy product became the youngest player in USL Championship history to hit 20 career goals when he did so in a Sporting KC II uniform last fall.

At the ripe age of 21, Harris is only getting started. Having signed an MLS contract this offseason, he now has his sights set on carrying that goal scoring form into the top division.

Among the many teammates who fancy Harris to do exactly that is veteran defender Graham Zusi, who spoke about the talented striker during his weekly discussion with Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

“I’m excited about Wilson,” Zusi said. “He’s been training with us the past couple of years, going between Sporting II and the first team, and we’ve seen what he’s capable of in training. The guy is just a natural goal scorer. You put him in front of the goal and everything he touches seems to go in.

“This is his first chance to be in and around the team for an extended period of time and he’s just killing it. I’m looking forward to seeing him against some MLS opponents in the next couple of weeks as well. I have high hopes for him and I think he’ll be a player who gets some significant minutes this year. Knowing Wilson, he’ll take advantage of all of them.”

Harris, of course, scored a hat trick in Sporting’s 4-0 preseason victory over Phoenix Rising FC last Saturday. Having seen the player develop over the last few years, Zusi couldn’t help but draw a comparison between Harris and San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski, the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS history.

“He puts himself in great positions,” Zusi said. “What I can equate it to is a guy like Wondolowski, who has scored the most goals in our league’s history. I’m not putting that kind of pressure on Wilson right now, but he just puts himself in great spots. The ball just seems to find him in those spots, and the most difficult part is finishing and putting the ball in the back of the net.

“He makes it look easy and it’s not. It’s the hardest thing to do in our sport, and somehow he makes it look easy. It never looks like he’s running at full speed or beating a guy one on one, but he’s smart and puts himself in great spots. And then he does the hard part, which is finishing.”

In addition to reflecting on Harris’ exploits, Zusi talked plenty about the upcoming NCAA Tournament—he likes his Maryland Terrapins to spring a first-round win over Connecticut—and a recent development that sparked excitement in the U.S. Men’s National Team circle. Yunus Musah, an 18-year-old midfielder for Valencia and one of the best teenage players in the world, committed his senior international allegiance to the U.S. MNT. Musah was also eligible to play for Ghana, Italy and England.

Zusi thinks Musah’s decision to represent the U.S. marks the continuation of a trend that has seen more and more dual nationals choose the Stars and Stripes at a young age.

“In the past, it’s almost been like, ‘OK, the U.S. is my second choice and I’m going to play for them just so that I have the chance to play on a national team,’” Zusi said. “Now, these kids are primetime players who could easily play for either national team. But now they’re choosing to play for the U.S., which I think says so much about where this organization is headed and the excitement level for what they’re capable of.”

He continued: “I’m pumped to see the next 5-10 years with U.S. Soccer. I think it’s going to take a massive jump forward and I think you’ll see us competing for high-level trophies pretty soon.”

Sporting will continue their preseason campaign on Saturday, facing the Colorado Rapids in a 5 p.m. CT kickoff at Kino North Complex in Tucson, Arizona. For live updates of the action, follow @SKCMatchday on Twitter.