KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In less than a year, Seth Sinovic went from bargain to bargaining chip.
Headed into this season, with his career finally on a stable track, Sporting Kansas City’s young left back was asked to up his value to the club even more by taking on a bigger offensive role and providing more leadership within the defense.
Sinovic has wasted little time delivering.
After two years in MLS without a goal or an assist, he recorded his first career point last Saturday when he set up C.J. Sapong for the final goal in Sporting’s 3-0 win over New England.
WATCH: Sinovic sets up Sapong
“We’ve worked on that a lot in practice,” said Sinovic, who grew up in the suburb of Leawood and played youth soccer alongside starting center back Matt Besler. “It’s really great to see it come together in the game.”
Sinovic’s activity in the attacking third didn’t go unnoticed by Revs manager Jay Heaps.
“They got to the byline. Seth Sinovic got to the byline twice,” Heaps said. “It was a will for the ball and they outstretched and got to it first.”
While Sinovic made some forays forward last year, manager Peter Vermes said that the acquisition of left winger Bobby Convey was designed in part to make Sinovic as active in the offense as right back Chance Myers.
“Bobby’s able to bring Seth into the game, take a little pressure off of him by actually attracting some guys and then releasing the ball,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Bobby’s got a great final pass to people. For sure that’s going to be a help to Seth.”
At the other end of the pitch, Vermes said, Sinovic is learning to direct others as well as position himself.
“He’s growing into that position,” Vermes said. “He’s starting to make other guys aware of what they need to do. He’s becoming more of a vocal leader, which is one of the requirements of that position because as a defender you see the whole field and the things that are happening. You’ve got to get people in the right places and sort of put out fires before they even happen.”
For a while in the offseason, Sinovic was left to wonder whether he’d be getting to know his third set of teammates in as many years.
Sporting picked up Sinovic in May 2011, after his release by the Revs and an unsuccessful tryout with Real Salt Lake. He quickly supplanted Michael Harrington at left back and started every match after his debut in June, but he was left unprotected and promptly scooped up by the Montreal Impact during the Expansion Draft in November.
After five days of negotiations, Sporting reaquired Sinovic for veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud and allocation money, and later rewarded him with a new contract before this season.
“It was definitely a possibility that I would be in Montreal, but at the same time I was really hoping to come back here,” Sinovic said. “It was a great experience last year, and I want to build on it as much as possible.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.