KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The minutes weren't there for Bobby Convey. The interest from Toronto FC was.
The veteran left winger didn't ask to be traded from Sporting Kansas City to the Reds, Sporting manager Peter Vermes said on Friday, but the deal frees up a needed roster spot and gives Convey a chance to play.
“Toronto has basically reached out to us three times, four times now, even prior to the season beginning,” Vermes said at Sporting's weekly news conference, after Convey was dealt away for Toronto's first pick in the 2014 Supplemental Draft. “I just wasn't sure if playing time was going to be there on a regular basis, and felt it might help us later down the road with something else. I don't necessarily have another move, so to say, right now in mind. I have some potential ideas, but opening the roster spot seemed like it would be good for us here in the near term.”
Convey, who will turn 30 on May 27, is in his 14th professional season. He was Sporting's highest-profile acquisition before the 2012 season, when they acquired him in a trade with San Jose, but hamstring and calf injuries limited him to 14 starts and 18 appearances last year.
He spent the offseason working on his fitness and came into the 2013 season in what he said was his best physical condition since his most productive years with English outfit Reading in the middle of the last decade.
But after starting Sporting's first two matches, he was lifted at halftime of the second. He made only one more appearance as a sub after that and also found himself slowed by yet another calf strain.
At the same time, the left winger's position has become perhaps the most crowded on Sporting's roster. C.J. Sapong has started there, as have Graham Zusi, Soony Saad – and most recently Jacob Peterson, who has made starts at both wing spots since returning from offseason shoulder surgery.
Even with Sporting involved in three separate competitions this year, Vermes said, the depth at that spot made Convey's trade an acceptable risk.
“We've got quite a few guys who are in good form and quite a few guys coming back from injury, so I think that's a gamble we always take,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to make a move in the next window. Sometimes you've got to hit that opportunity when it's available.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.