KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Had things gone differently, Seth Sinovic might have been wearing Claret and Cobalt rather than Sporting Blue in this Saturday’s matchup between Major League Soccer’s two hottest teams (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
After being waived by the New England Revolution prior to the 2011 season, Sporting Kansas City’s left back trialed with Real Salt Lake. At the time, RSL head coach Jason Kreis didn’t see Sinovic fitting into his plans.
“We were fond of Seth,” Kreis said earlier this week, as both sides prepared for their showdown at Livestrong Sporting Park. “We thought he was a really solid player, but we were kind of on the fence. Our decision at that time was to allow him to go somewhere else to see if the opportunity was maybe a little better somewhere else. We made a decision, as we often do, to put the players first. We said ‘Why don’t you go to Kansas City and let us know how it goes?’”
Needless to say, it went well. Sinovic signed with his hometown club, broke into the starting lineup midway through the season and has become a mainstay in a Kansas City side that went to the MLS Eastern Conference Final in 2011 and are off to a 5-0-0 start in 2012.
“It’s good to be back in Kansas City,” Sinovic told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “It’s great to be part of a club who have owners who have invested a lot in the club. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of that, not only to be home but to be part of a successful team.”
Sinovic has played in every minute in Sporting’s perfect start to the season, and head coach Peter Vermes singled his left back out for praise for his performance on the flanks in last week’s 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy.
“Sometimes in our game, what fits in one system might not fit in another,” Vermes said on Thursday. “I can’t pretend to think what [RSL] were looking for at that time, but Seth fits in the way that we play. That’s why it’s worked for him here.”
“I’ve kind of moved past that,” Sinovic said of his trial with RSL. “It’s a new chapter. I know that’s a cliché, but I really don’t think about it at all.”
Success will do that. The Claret-and-Cobalt, meanwhile, are off to a good start themselves. Through six matches, RSL are 5-1-0, and Saturday’s match is already being singled out as a possible preview for MLS Cup in December.
“Both of us are pretty strong teams,” Sinovic said. “Both of us like to press and both of us like to keep the ball. So we’ll see what happens – but hopefully, we can get the win.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.