Sporting Kansas City's Homegrown Core
When you look at the teams who are giving their homegrown the most minutes, you’ll see four of the top 5 in MLS are playoff bound( (1) RSL - 36% 2) RBNY - 30% 3) PHI - 27% 4) TOR - 22% 5) FCD - 20%). While these teams get the rightful credit of “playing your kids” and still being competitive, it’s Peter Vermes who has figured out a way to mix a core of young homegrowns in with his veterans to give them both experience and measure. Here’s the core of Kansas City’s homegrowns that may have the highest ceiling of any core in MLS.
If there’s two things that we’ve seen from Peter Vermes, it’s that he has loyalty to players that work hard in all aspects of the game and that his defense is the heart of his system. This is the perfect environment for the 18 year old right back to experience and takeover whenever Graham Zuzi stops playing soccer (Which honestly might not ever happen). With U-17 experience for the national team, Jaylin is developing more and more each year and is praised by his coach and fellow players for his versatility and how he can adapt to the game. In fact, Vermes trusts his adaptability so much, we’ve seen him using Jaylin on the left side of the field even though he’s predominantly played right back and oh yea…right footed.
While being praised for his awareness, positioning, and marking on defense, Jaylin is also a threat on offense, as the overlapping back becomes more common in today’s game. With this responsibility, Jaylin has to have the ability to cross well and place the best option pass to trailing attackers. Whether he ends up on the left or right, Jaylin looks primed to make an impact for Sporting KC and for the USMNT.
When your nickname is Malaysian Messi, you better have the skills to back that up, something this 19 year old has no problem doing. Coming up with USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers, Wan made 21 appearances and had over 1500 minutes over the past two years, leading to his debut for Sporting KC this year. This experience helped with Wan’s composure on the ball that the left footed midfielder needs in the pros. How much did it help? In Wan’s first game with Sporting where he played the majority of the game, he had 1 goal from 3 shots, 31/32 passes complete, 4 recoveries and only 1 foul committed. And oh yea, he didn’t give the ball away.
He simply reads the game well and does what’s best in the moment, whether it’s keeping possession, restarting an attack, or sending someone in. Wan is a hardworking midfielder who also has the speed and positioning to help defensively as well, as we saw with his three takeaways that he also contributed during his 1st game with Sportking KC. By the way, don’t let him free kick it either…
The youngest player to ever play for Sporting KC may also have the most hype around him. However, it was after Peter Vermes ranted about the disappointment of certain first teamers not showing effort towards the end of a 4-2 US Open Cup lost to Houston, that all the hype had an opportunity to finally be seen. The 16 year old midfielder, Gianluca Busio, made his debut for Sporting KC a few weeks later subbing on in the 77th minute. His play earned him the opportunity to start the very next game and this was the result…
A very attacking oriented midfielder, Busio is not afraid to take the space you give him and go for things that others may be hesitant to. But what’s most impressive about the 16 year old is his confidence. Like Wan, Busio’s composure on the ball is ridiculous and gives the impression to a random spectator that he’s been playing in the league for years. During his two games this year that he’s played for SKC, he’s shown that being pressured and at times doubled, does not get in the head of Busio and panic him like it would most 16 year old’s. Hell, at 16, I was panicking if I had to answer a question in front of the class, I’d never be able to fight off Darwin Ceren and Alejandro Funemayor at the same time. But his age and lack of experience does show at times with a few giveaways and developing the use of his weak foot. Something I’m sure Sporting wouldn’t mind being patient for after seeing the height this kid can reach one day.
I watched Gianluca Busio's 10 minute cameo against Minnesota Utd. Overall, he was fine, but this play confused me. Busio receives the ball, turns, and is in plenty of space to play a pass wide with his left foot. Instead, he forces it with his right. Is Busio super right-footed? pic.twitter.com/xxmn9XM3vD— Joseph Lowery (@joeInCleats) August 28, 2018
The oldest and most experienced of the homegrowns is the Hungarian forward, Dániel Sallói. Already with 7 goals and 7 assists on the season, Dániel has proven to be a consistent starter in MLS, starting 21 games this season and close to rounding over 2,000 minutes. With a new contract extension this year and a recent call up to the Hungarian National team, Daniel is using his successful year to reach new marks, including double digit goals and assists (which only 4 players reached last year). With the more games he plays, you can see that he has a great feel of the game and the system he plays in. You can see in the video below, Daniel points to the spot he wants the ball while understanding who is making the runs around him. Once he gets the ball where he calls out for it, he’s then able to back heel it a player on the run to set up a goal. It’s his decisiveness and understanding compared to last season that has really upped his game in a new way.
When it comes to his scoring ability, Daniel has a knack at being at the right place at the tight time. In fact, out of the 7 goals from him this season, 6 were within 10 yards from the goal. But don’t let that confuse you with him only being a poacher, because this was the 1 that wasn’t within the 10 yard area. (Atlanta fans, cover your eyes)