As momentum builds toward Major League Soccer’s 26th season in 2021, Sporting Kansas City players and coaches will look to lay the foundations for another successful campaign when preseason training unfolds this month in Arizona.
With newcomers joining familiar faces for the 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com has launched the “Sporting Preseason Spotlight” web series to acquaint supporters with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards who will help Sporting Kansas City compete for silverware in 2021. To read up on every player and visit the series archive as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/Spotlight.
Newly acquired goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh has spent only one week of preseason training with his Sporting Kansas City teammates at Compass Minerals National Performance Center. During that time, however, the 27-year-old has made an excellent first impression, earning the praises of Sporting's longtime starting keeper.
"So impressive," Melia said of McIntosh. "I haven’t seen him play a ton, but he’s been incredibly impressive. It’s early on and none of us are sharp yet, but he is explosive, has good technique and good feet, and I think he has a bright future. We’re happy to have him in the group."
If Melia's remarks are an accurate indication, Sporting just might be loaded at the goalkeeping position.
Sporting selected McIntosh in Stage 1 of the 2020 MLS Re-Entry Process last December. The California native and UC Santa Clara alum boasts five years of professional experience across MLS and the 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.
McIntosh posted 10 shutouts in 60 total USL Championship appearances in four seasons with Portland Timbers 2 from 2016-2019. He spent the 2020 MLS campaign as a backup with the New York Red Bulls.
While it will be hard to displace Melia as Sporting's No. 1 keeper, McIntosh is likely to receive an opportunity at some point in the season as Sporting juggles the MLS regular season with potential participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Concacaf Leagues Cup during a seven-month dash from April to November.
McIntosh racked up 241 saves in 60 career appearances for Timbers 2, an impressive clip of over four saves per game.
He Said It
"There are a lot of small moments that really become kind of life changing. There were a few moments in youth soccer where I would make a great save or change the game. Seeing the faces on the other team’s forwards or the other team’s parents being like, 'Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that just happened'—that demoralizing feeling—getting to see that as a goalkeeper for me is what it’s all about. That gets me up in the morning and helps me sleep at night. The more I can see that, the better I’ll be doing, the better the team will be doing, the more we’ll be winning and the better things will be."
McIntosh speaking to media on March 5, 2021, describing his love for the sport of soccer.
Did You Know?
McIntosh was a multi-sport athlete growing up, also playing baseball and basketball. As he puts it, his first soccer experiences as a field player were the reason he became a goalkeeper.
"Initially I was just bad at soccer, so they threw me in goal," McIntosh told Kansas City media this week. "I was also kind of a psycho as a little kid, so they kept me in there so that I’d be less of a danger to everyone else."
McIntosh ultimately became a member of the San Jose Earthquakes Academy before embarking on a four-year collegiate career at Santa Clara University. He made 53 appearances for the Broncos from 2012-2015 and was named the 2015 West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year as a senior.