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Sporting KC’s Willy Agada Out 12 Weeks After Surgery

We have a loose timeline on Willy Agada’s return and a quick look at possible solutions for Sporting KC to replace him as they struggle through their 2023 season.



Willy Agada versus the Seattle Sounders | Credit: Sporting Kansas City

Last week, the Sporting Kansas City universe was a stir with the news that Dom Dwyer was on trial with the team. Many (including myself) questioned, if it made any sense to bring back the bombastic figure. Then the reason for that trial became clearer. Willy Agada was out injured. He had a stress fracture in his tibia that would require surgery.

That surgery has since happened. He underwent successful surgery on Monday on his left tibia according to Sporting KC. The timeline for his return? 12 weeks! That means, best case, he can resume training in mid-July.

As for when he’d actually take the field? It’s tough to know, but with the track record of this club recovering from injuries, I wouldn’t expect him back for a while. If the season is going as badly then as it is now, you almost wonder if they are extra cautious with his return or shut him down entirely. Alan Pulido is in the final year of his contract and Agada is presumably one of the future options at striker.

As for the origin of Agada’s injury, that is unknown. Peter Vermes even speculated it could have been something that happened before he joined the club since it’s an injury that is an accumulation, versus a sudden happening.

Replacement Options

The primary transfer window came and went on Monday without Sporting KC making a move. It didn’t come as a surprise as Peter Vermes indicated the team was looking domestically. That’s where Dom Dwyer comes in. He is out of contract so he could sign as a free agent and no compensation, other than his salary, would be required. Presumably he’d play for a smaller sum to try and land a roster spot.

Dwyer, like Pulido, is 32 years old and is likely a stop gap at best.

The team could go in other directions. Their starting striker for SKC II is Spaniard Pau Vidal who has scored four goals over four straight games. He’s just 20-years-old and provides a bigger frame than Sporting is used to at the position.

The complications with Vidal come in two forms. First, he requires an international roster spot, of which Sporting KC only have one left. The other potential complication is his salary. MLS Next Pro doesn’t have any salary budget so it’s possible he’s making more money on the II’s than Sporting KC have budgetary space for him on the first team. This may be completely off base, but we simply don’t know that information. Finally, his sample size is small. Four goals in four games are amazing, but it’s against lower competition and there is obviously no guarantee it will translate over a longer period of time. But that’s true of lots of prospects.

A third option would be first round SuperDraft pick Stephen Afrifa. We are in the timeline of when he is set to leave college and join Sporting KC. He could end up on a second team deal, or he could be signed to the first team.

The club has one open space from the Ben Sweat release and can clear a second roster spot by placing Kortne Ford on the season ending injury list. Sporting Kansas City has indicated we’ll hear something on Afrifa soon.

These are just three examples of players SKC could slot into that backup striker position. There were some upset fans that the team didn’t reacquire striker CJ Sapong, who was traded to Toronto FC. He’s 34-years-old and made $550,000 last year, so I’m not particularly sad about that.

Whatever Sporting KC decided to do, we should know more, maybe as early as this week.

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