Tag Archives: Jimmy Medranda

Sporting KC: 2019 Roster Moves

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City’s roster has undergone some drastic, much needed changes in the past few weeks, including the club making a momentous splash earlier this week with the signing of Liga MX top-scorer Alan Pulido.

First, the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft hit SKC’s roster once again – followed by an immediate trade saw two Sporting KC players sent to Nashville SC.

Jimmy Medranda

Nashville selected Jimmy Medranda, a 25-year-old midfielder, for their 10th and final pick of the draft – ending his six-year career in Kansas City. He became the 11th Sporting player to be taken in an MLS Expansion Draft.

Medranda recorded five goals and eight assists in 108 competitive appearances for Sporting from 2013-2019. The Colombian’s tenure with the club was highlighted by a 2013 MLS Cup title and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2015 and 2017.

But is Medranda another “Latif Blessing level” mistake?

It’s too soon to be certain, but Medranda was a great asset for the team.

Adrian Zendejas

Immediately after the draft concluded, the club acquired $125,000 in 2020 Targeted Allocation Money, $50,000 in 2020 General Allocation Money, and an international roster spot for the 2020 season from MLS expansion club Nashville SC in exchange for goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas.

Zendejas was a prominent backup keeper for Sporting KC and their USL affiliate, the Swope Park Rangers. It has been a rocky season for the young keeper, who, after two years with the club, finally made his league debut in a 1-1 draw over FC Cincinnati on April 7. Additionally, Zendejas conceded four goals in SKC’s early exit from the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Additional Roster Moves

The club announced further roster moves heading into the 2020 MLS season on November 21st ahead of the drafts.

Sporting KC has exercised contract options on the following five players: goalkeeper Eric Dick, defender Graham Smith and forwards Gerso Fernandes, Erik Hurtado, and Daniel Salloi.

In turn, Sporting declined contract options for Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber, and Gedion Zelalem.

Forward Krisztian Nemeth, and defenders Nico Hasler and Rodney Wallace are also out of contract with the club.

But it’s not over yet.

Sporting KC passed for the End-of-Year Waivers process. However, the club made a selection during the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft before passing on the second stage.

Richard Sanchez

Sporting KC selected former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez in Stage 1 of the 2019 MLS Re-Entry Draft.

The 25-year-old already has nine seasons of professional experience under his belt, getting his start in the FC Dallas Academy and competing in both the United States and Mexico. Sanchez has spent the last three seasons in MLS with the Chicago Fire – recording 90 saves across 27 league appearances.

According to the club’s statement:

“On the international stage, Sanchez was the starting goalkeeper and played all seven matches for Mexico as El Tri captured the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup title on home soil. He was also Mexico’s starting keeper at the 2013 U-20 World Cup two years later, helping his side reach the Round of 16.”

Sanchez’s signing completes SKC’s goalkeeper roster, with Tim Melia and Eric Dick. Sanchez will likely serve as a great backup, if not occasional starter.

Roberto Punčec

Sporting Kansas City announced they have signed 28-year-old Croatian defender Roberto Punčec. Punčec has inked a two-year MLS contract through 2021 with an option for 2022. He will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

The Varazdin native has amassed almost 300 professional appearances across 12 professional seasons in Croatia, Israel, and Germany. He played over 100 matches with Union Berlin in the second-division, German 2. Bundesliga before returning home to Croatia to play the last two and a half years for HNK Rijeka, where he won the 2019 Croatian Cup this spring.

Manager Peter Vermes seemed enthused with the new signing:

“Roberto has significant experience playing in Europe over the last several years,” Vermes said. “He is very excited to be here and we look forward to him integrating into our club and our city.”

Punčec joins four other center backs on the roster: Matt Besler, Botond Barath, Andreu Fontás, and Graham Smith. He will likely serve as a backup to either starter since Fontás has undergone surgery for a insertional Achilles tendon clean up and repair surgery in October – he is expected to be out for 4-5 months.

Khiry Shelton

Welcome back, Khiry!

A familiar face returns to the Blue Hell as the club signed the 26-year-old forward to a three-year MLS contract through 2022 with an option for 2023.

Shelton spent 2019 with German club SC Paderborn 07, returns to Kansas City for his second stint. He first helped the club place in the Western Conference in 2018.

In his first stint with Sporting KC, Shelton started 17 of his 24 appearances in all competitions. Shelton was not prolific in 2018, scoring twice and adding five assists in MLS play but he was part of the record breaking offense that saw SKC sit atop the west with an 18-8-8 record. Sporting KC was 12-3-5 in matches Shelton played. 

With that being said, I feel like this is more of a depth signing for the club, but only time will tell.

Alan Pulido

Last but not least, SKC’s blockbuster signing.

Sporting KC finally found a striker in Liga MX’s top-scorer Alan Pulido. Pulido was acquired for a record fee transfer – a reported $9.5 million – making him the most expensive signing in the club’s history and one of the most expensive signings in MLS history.

“My dream would be to fight for the MLS Cup and to win the title. There’s no bigger dream or motivation than that, and of course I want to bring joy to the fans with my goals. I’d like to grow personally, and I would like to be the top scorer in MLS—that would be a big dream of mine,” Pulido said.

Pulido has yet to arrive in Kansas City and he is already making waves.

Sporting KC kicks off the 2020 MLS campaign on the road in Vancouver. Then will return to KC to open the season on March 7 as they host longtime rival, Houston Dynamo.

Featured image: Peaty Romano

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Sporting KC drops midweek fixture to LA Galaxy 2-0

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Despite coming off a hot win over the Seattle Sounders this past weekend, Sporting Kansas City fell to the LA Galaxy in a dismal 2-0 loss at Children’s Mercy Park.

The midweek fixture was a chance to regain a rhythm and some points. But as the script goes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal and assist and missed chances for the home side would help lead the Galaxy to victory – the first time they have won at CMP since 2007.

Navigating a stressful three-game week, Peter Vermes was able to fill a bench to capacity for the first time as the injury list continues to shrink. And Jimmy Medranda was removed from the list completely.

A rested center back Andreu Fontas, a former teammate of Zlatan, stepped in for the captain – who started on the bench. Johnny Russell was back after his heroic hat-trick and Fontas returned to the starting XI.

Their only real challenge was missing Krisztian Nemeth again since the league added an extra suspension for the Hungarian on Monday.

So what went wrong?

“I think we missed too many really good chances in the game,” Peter Vermes told the press.

Both sides kicked off the match with sloppy plays, incomplete passes, and misdirection of the ball. Fortunately, the home side soon regained solid possession around the 10th minute.

Tim Melia was called into action in the 24th minute, when the keeper made a diving save after Dave Romney connected powerfully with Sebastian Lletget’s header and smothered the ball amidst a crowded box to keep the game scoreless.

Gutierrez and Rowe nearly combined for the breakthrough just before the half, but David Bingham raced off his line and swiped the ball away for a corner kick that he later defended successfully.

Sporting were then prompted to make a halftime substitution as Besler replaced Botond Barath, who exited with tightness in his leg. No updates on his condition are known yet.

Ten minutes after the restart, Perry Kitchen sent a long pass to Zlatan at the far post, who directed the ball to Favio Alvarez – with the nice finish as he found a pocket of space and tucked away the goal.

Melia came up huge to deny Zlatan in a 1v1 situation in the 69th minute.

Zlatan, who just returned from a two-game suspension, got his revenge from the 1v1 standoff in the 86th minute and scored the game-winner for the visitors late into the second half.

The remainder of the match saw Sporting KC desperately trying to score a goal. Including a chance from the pair of Graham Zusi and Daniel Salloi. But Bingham kept punching them away to preserve the Galaxy’s 2-0 win.

Sporting KC will start a pivotal four-game road streak as they travel to Houston to face the Houston Dynamos on Saturday, June 1.

Featured image: Jimmy Medranda on Instagram @jimao7

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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