"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. A Legend Returns
Sporting Kansas City has re-signed veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza to a new contract for the 2021 MLS season, the club announced last week.
Espinoza, 34, has played an instrumental role for Sporting Kansas City over the course of 11 MLS seasons, leading the club to seven playoff appearances and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships. Across two separate stints at Sporting—from 2008-2012 and 2015 to present—Espinoza ranks third in club history with 301 competitive appearances and fifth in both starts (271) and minutes (24,025). He has also scored 12 goals and places fifth on Sporting’s all-time charts with 41 assists.
2. The State of Sporting
Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes spoke to media on Friday for the first time since the calendar flipped to 2021, covering a number of pertinent topics ahead of the new MLS season. The longest-tenured head coach in MLS discussed the club’s decision to re-sign Roger Espinoza, Sporting’s ongoing bid to acquire new players, contract negotiations and the uncertainty surrounding the start date of the 2021 campaign. His full remarks are available here.
3. Alekzandur in Action
With seven qualifying matches down and seven still to play, Sporting Kansas City eMLS star Alekzandur is on course to qualify for the eMLS League Series One finals this weekend. Alekzandur, who went 4-2-1 in his first seven League Series One qualifiers last week, currently occupies eighth place in the overall standings. Following another set of qualifying matches this Tuesday and Wednesday, the top eight finishers will progress to eMLS League Series One presented by Coca-Cola on Saturday and Sunday.
4. Blood Drive on Thursday
Sporting Kansas City, The Victory Project and Community Blood Center will carry their longstanding partnership into 2021 when Children’s Mercy Park hosts another urgent, one-day blood drive on Thursday.
The blood drive will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. inside the Budweiser Brew House, located at the northeast corner of Children’s Mercy Park off the intersection of Village West Parkway and France Family Drive in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to helping save lives, all participating donors will have their blood tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Antibody test results will be mailed to donors within two weeks of donation.
5. Barbir is Back
Sporting Kansas City II has re-signed defender Danny Barbir to a new contract ahead of the 2021 USL Championship season, the club announced today. Barbir, who joined Sporting II one year ago, made 15 appearances in his maiden season with the club. The 22-year-old center back scored twice in 2020, including a memorable strike to secure a 1-0 road win over perennial USL Championship power Indy Eleven last August.
6. McIntosh Makes it Official
Sporting Kansas City has signed 26-year-old goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, the club announced early last week. Sporting selected McIntosh in Stage 1 of the 2020 MLS Re-Entry Process on Dec. 17 before signing him to a contract for the 2021 season.
McIntosh boasts five years of professional experience across Major League Soccer and the second-division USL Championship. He spent the 2020 MLS campaign with the New York Red Bulls following a four-year stint in the Portland Timbers organization from 2016-2019.