Update 2:04 PM CST — Sporting KC made it official.
After two preseason appearances as a trialist, it appears Sporting Kansas City wants to make it official. Daniel Sperry of the KC Star reports that Sporting KC have agreed to a deal with midfielder Memo Rodriguez. It’s a guaranteed one-year deal, with a club option for the 2025 season.
We previewed the initial story last week when it was announced Rodriguez was on trial with the club during preseason in Miami.
Rodriguez is a familiar face to Sporting KC fans as he’s spent the vast majority of his professional career with rivals the Houston Dynamo. Last year he signed with the LA Galaxy before being traded to Austin FC in the summer.
The signing makes a ton of sense for a Sporting KC team that lacks depth in the midfield. Gone are Roger Espinoza, Gadi Kinda, Cam Duke and Felipe Gutierrez and no players have been added until the Rodriguez news. At 28-years-old, he adds an immediate presence when all the other backups, outside of Felipe Hernandez, have almost no experience. Additionally, the season is long and Sporting KC are notorious for their injuries, so you’ll need players ready to step up and be at or near the same level.
Rodriguez has played in Erik Thommy’s spot in the second half in the last two MLS preseason games against Charlotte FC and Nashville SC. Looking at their underlying numbers, similarities exist with Memo likely being available on a budget friendly charge that shouldn’t hinder other Sporting KC roster moves. While he’s no Thommy, he knows what he’s doing out there and he’s still in his prime.
Memo Rodriguez is on trial with #SportingKC for preseason. I'm calling him the poor man's Erik Thommy.
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) January 25, 2024
Rodriguez will be another player in a long line of free agents to come to Kansas City. In prior years, it hasn’t gone well. Uri Rosell and Ben Sweat were both cut last year. And going back to the beginning of free agency, with the first ever free agent Justin Mapp, that didn’t work either. Rodriguez will be looking to buck that trend.
This signing lines up with Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes post-game interview on Tuesday indicating signings would be hopefully coming before the second leg of preseason. The team reports back to Miami this Sunday. Rodriguez is in the fold, who could join him? The Kellyn Acosta rumor still lingers with the USMNT midfield yet to sign. The team’s recent trade with Charlotte may make that signing a little more likely.
Whatever signings do happen, we’ll be sure to have them for you here at the KC Soccer Journal.
This story originally said Felipe Hernandez was gone, not Felipe Gutierrez in error.