The secondary transfer window has closed in Major League Soccer and Sporting Kansas City’s roster is basically set. Sure, they could technically sign a Homegrown player or something like that before the MLS Roster Freeze on September 15th, but this is likely the team that is going to be around for the final nine games of the MLS season.
The next game isn’t until August 26th against the San Jose Earthquakes, so it’s the perfect time to ponder how the team is constructed and to start thinking about changes that should be made in the offseason.
To get us there, let’s look at everyone’s contract, any contract option years and their current known salaries. Before that, it’ll be helpful to know some roster construction basics.
Complicated MLS Roster Rules
In MLS, teams get three Designated Players (here is an explainer). Sporting KC have three right now: Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda and Erik Thommy. Pulido and Kinda are out of contract after the season (though the rumor is Pulido is coming back as a DP). Thommy is likely under the threshold to be bought down with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and Kinda is a DP only due to his transfer fee. The team can seemingly add one DP in the offseason (at least) and possibly two.
Sporting KC need to keep one of their DPs as either a DP in name only (someone making under $1,683,750 in 2024) or sign a Young DP because they have three U-22 Initiative players on their roster (Marinos Tzionis, Robi Voloder and Logan Ndenbe).
Otherwise, you should know that the MLS salary budget (not a cap!) is $5,470,000 in 2024, with another $2,585,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $2,400,000 in TAM available at a minimum. That’s a total spend of $10,455,000 not counting additional GAM acquired from trades.
Something to keep in mind is DPs and U-22 players don’t hit the budget at their full number. A DP will count for $683,750 in 2024 and a U-22 player at $150,000 to $200,000, no matter what their actual salaries are. That means all three DPs and all three U-22 players take up just $2,651,250 of the budget, leaving another $8 million in spend available (and that’s just the money we know of, there is more GAM floating around from trades and transfers likely).
Other ideas to keep in your mind are limitations on international roster spots. Sporting KC traded away a bunch of them in 2023, but they’ll be back up to eight next season. Also, they are really good at getting green cards (look at all the guys who used to be internationals) so I don’t anticipate it’ll be an issue to knock a couple more guys off this roster designation.
The rules are far more complicated than that, but you can go read the MLS Roster Rules if you are a sicko like me. No word yet on if all the rules are changing as some owners would like to see, particularly on the heels of the Messi signing.
Sporting KC’s Current Roster, Contracts and Salaries
These are all current 2023 numbers, with another salary update expected in the coming weeks/months. We don’t know Felipe Gutierrez’s salary, since he was signed after the salary release. If you want more insight on the salary numbers, I recommend checking out both the 2023 Sporting KC release and the 2023 MLS salary release.
|Player||Position||Status||Age||Expiration||Options||2023 Base Salary|
Note: The age column is as of August 11, 2023.
Key: HG = Homegrown | DP = Designated Player | INT = International roster spot | U-22 = U-22 Initiative slot
There it all is in one spot.
- Who do you want to release (the team gets one buyout a season and the 2023 version was used)?
- What options do you want to see declined?
- Any contracts you want to see traded?
Whoever is running the team in 2024 should be making these plans now, so let’s give them a little help as I’m sure Peter Vermes, Brian Bliss and others connected to Sporting KC are reading the comments.