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Ben Sweat Released by Sporting Kansas City

After a red card suspension, Ben Sweat will never see the field for Sporting KC again.



Ben Sweat | Credit: Sporting Kansas City

On Tuesday morning the media was invited to Compass Mineral National Performance Center for the weekly availability to watch the team practice. The KC Soccer Journal’s own Thad Bell noticed that Ben Sweat, Tim Leibold and Nemanja Radoja weren’t in practice. Leibold and Radoja were injured, so that made sense. Sweat had been suspended with a red card from the prior game, but there was no other indication as to why he wouldn’t be on the field. When asked about it after practice, Sporting KC Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said he’d have an update on the situation tomorrow.

Then Twitter user Cutter Whitley noticed that Ben Sweat had unfollowed Sporting KC on Instagram and removed all mention of the club from his bio.

At 5:20 PM, the team announced that left back Sweat had been waived.

How Did we Get Here?

The last time we saw Ben Sweat was in the 4-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Children’s Mercy Park on March 25th. In that game, Sweat picked up a red card and was suspended from the match against the Philadelphia Union this past weekend. Some of us wanted to blame that entire loss on Sweat (it was me, I did it). I would argue you can draw a straight line from Ben Sweat mistakes to all three losses Sporting KC have had this season.

The play in the opener where Sweat “saved” the ball from going out for a goal kick, that led to the Portland Timbers game winning goal. The pass from Sweat against FC Dallas that led to Jesus Ferreira’s game winning goal. And the Seattle game.

Cutting Sweat doesn’t fix everything, and the real reason he is gone may never be fully known, but he’s not with the team anymore.

Where Does this Leave the Left Back Spot?

With Sweat gone, there is only one healthy fullback on the SKC roster. Graham Zusi is the last man standing with injuries hampering the aforementioned Leibold, Logan Ndenbe and Kayden Pierre. Against Philly, Sporting started center back Robert Voloder out of position at LB. He acquainted himself well enough.

For SKC II, Cam Duke put in 90 minutes on Sunday at left back, possibly in preparation for this upcoming roster move. With Leibold not a participant in practice, he may be a bit further off right now. Voloder and Duke are options. Plus, we got the news (and video) that Ndenbe was back in team drills and Pierre is at least jogging at practice.

Whatever the future holds for SKC’s backline, it’s not Ben Sweat. He was just added to the roster ahead of the 2022 season and made $200,000 in his first season with the team. He made 29 appearances with 26 starts in his short tenure with the club. His subtraction from the roster opens up space for the team to make a move, though it’s unclear if any salary relief comes with this move.

The Kansas City Soccer Journal will bring you more on the Sweat situation as it becomes available.

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