KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Korede Aiyegbusi is no stranger to an attacking role, having played both midfield and forward in his youth career.
Learning the left wing spot in Sporting Kansas City’s 4-3-3 set-up – after playing his first two seasons with the club as an outside defender – still requires some adjustments, though.
“The biggest challenge is, when the ball is being switched to me and I have a right back on my back, is winning headers,” the 5-foot-5 Englishman told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday’s training session. “Being a very short player, it’s not as easy. I know I can jump really high, but it’s doing that during the game. It’s something I have to work on a lot.”
Aiyegbusi doesn’t need any work on his speed. In training and Reserve League games, he has excelled at getting past defenders on runs out of the back.
Manager Peter Vermes has joked that Aiyegbusi needs to find a slower gear, for the possession aspects of Sporting’s game, but he also appreciates Aiyegbusi’s pace.
“I don’t want him to lose that fast gear he’s got,” Vermes said last week. “That’s what makes him dangerous.”
Aiyegbusi has made progress on slowing down when he needs to.
“I’ve been more relaxed on the ball,” he said. “I’ve still got a bit more to lean, and I’ve got to be focused. But once I get it fine-tuned, I’ll be a difficult player to stop.”
Aiyegbusi, who has eight appearances with two starts as a defender since joining Sporting in 2010, has started to appear in the game-day 18 and hopes to make his 2012 debut soon.
“Nothing’s ever certain,” he said. “I’m just trying to work hard every day and get better.”
Reserve goalkeeper Eric Kronberg went through a full training session on Tuesday, his first since being sidelined by a preseason back injury.
“It feels really good,” said Kronberg, who took part in a small-side scrimmage. “During training there were no problems at all. Before and after, a little bit of soreness, but once I get loosened up, it's been awesome.”
Kronberg was originally supposed to be out four to six weeks after doctors discovered a bulging disc in his lower back. Instead, he missed the first 11 weeks.
“It’s been a while, so it feels good to get back out there and get the competitive juices flowing,” he said. “It’s something I’ve really missed.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.