KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nick Cardenas is no longer training with Sporting Kansas City, but that doesn’t mean the young center back has fallen off Peter Vermes’ radar.
Far from it, in fact. Vermes said he was trying to find a way to add Cardenas to Sporting’s roster before the roster deadline on Thursday, a move that would give Kansas City more depth in central defense and allow the coaching staff an extended look at the player.
Despite those efforts, Vermes said he preferred not to keep Cardenas in limbo when nothing was guaranteed.
“I let [Nick] go home on purpose because I wasn’t sure how long this was going to take,” he said. “I didn’t want to keep him just hanging around. He’s working out, trying to stay fit.”
According to Vermes, the stumbling block right now is whether or not Sporting has a roster spot available to sign Cardenas until the end of the season. Konrad Warzycha and Daneil Cyrus are both on the injured reserve list, creating an opening that Vermes said he hoped the league would allow him to fill with Cardenas.
“We have two guys [with injuries] that are season ending,” Vermes said. “I would try to get him into one of those off-the-budget deals where he would replace that guy for the rest of the season.”
Sporting took the 23-year-old center back in the third round of the SuperDraft in 2010 but didn’t offer Cardenas a contract after evaluating him during the preseason.
Since being cut by Kansas City, Cardenas, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at more than 200 pounds, has been pursuing opportunities to play professionally both inside and outside MLS, including a stint with USL-Pro side Sevilla FC Puerto Rico earlier this year.
But even without playing every day in a professional environment, Cardenas made enough of an impression on Vermes and his staff during his few weeks with the squad that they want more time to decide if he could fit in with the team.
“He’s definitely improved from a year ago,” Vermes said. “You just can’t deny his physicality. He’s excellent in the air. He’s just a massive dude for that position on the field. You need that kind of guys in that position in a lot of games in this league. It would nice to see if he could develop into something in these next two-and-half months.”
Kamara, Sierra Leone still alive for ACN spot
Kei Kamara started the week with a victory on one continent and ended it with another three points across the globe.
The Sierra Leone international provided an assist on Kansas City’s third goal against Houston after more than a day’s travel returning from a 2-1 victory against Egypt in Freetown that gave the Leone Stars a serious chance at qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations tournament.
“I almost fell asleep on the bench,” Kamara said of the match against Houston on Saturday. “I’m not even joking. My eyes were having problems staying open.”
Sierra Leone’s final group game is against South Africa during the second weekend in October. Kamara and his teammates must defeat Bafana Bafana and hope that group leaders Niger either draw or lose against Egypt, a scenario that would ensure qualification and the group’s top spot for the Leone Stars. If Niger and Sierra Leone both win, Sierra Leone could still qualify if they finish as one of the two best runners-up from all the groups.