So far this summer, Sporting Kansas City’s shopping list remains not only Eurocentric, but center back-centric as well.
After signing Serbian defender Neven Markovic earlier this month, Sporting are pursuing 20-year-old Spaniard Oriol Rosell, who has trained with Kansas City in recent weeks and has been released by FC Barcelona’s “B” side.
“We are negotiating with him,” manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Houston, where Sporting will take on the Dynamo on Wednesday night (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). “We’re just not there yet, but we’ve still got time to get it done. I think we have a good chance of getting it done, but we’re still working on it.”
Rosell, who turned 20 earlier this month, joined Barça’s youth program in 2006 and played six senior matches last season with Barcelona B in Spain’s Segunda División.
“He comes from a very good background,” Vermes said. “That’s one thing. Two, he’s a very smart player. He gets the game, and he understands what it is we’re trying to do. He comes from an environment where they play the same way we do, and he can translate that to our system of play. There’s a lot of upside.”
Quick return for Peterson?
Forward Jacob Peterson, Sporting’s hottest scorer this month, might not be out too much longer after suffering a left ankle injury that took him out of Saturday’s 2-0 win at Columbus in the first half.
GOAL: Peterson slips ball past Gruenebaum
“He’s actually pretty good,” Vermes said. “He ran yesterday a little bit. He trained a little today. We just need to meet with the trainers and a couple of guys to see how they’re feeling.”
Peterson has three league goals this season and has scored two straight game-winners for Sporting, the first in a 2-0 US Open Cup semifinal victory at Philadelphia last Wednesday and then against the Crew this past Saturday.
And while his signing drew little attention during the offseason, the well-traveled forward has won over fans not only with his scoring but with his work ethic and grittiness on the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s the kind of guy that if he can be out there, he wants to,” Vermes said.
When Sporting take on the Dynamo on Wednesday, Vermes doesn’t expect a repeat of the triple-digit heat that forced both sides to rein themselves in when they played to a scoreless draw on July 7 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
“It’s been really nice,” he said. “When it hits nighttime, it drops down into the 80s or so. So it’s a lot hotter [in Kansas City] than it is here. We’re actually glad to be here right now.”
Sporting had better enjoy the respite. The forecast for Saturday, when New England visit LSP, calls for highs nearing 100 in the Kansas City area.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.