Sporting Kansas City will be without midfielder Felipe Gutierrez for most and possibly all of 2020 after he underwent successful knee surgery this week, the club announced Tuesday.
The procedure, which repaired a cartilage defect in Gutierrez's knee, is expected to keep the 29-year-old Chilean sidelined for 7-9 months. Gutierrez had been sidelined with the injury since early preseason. He last appeared in a Jan. 25 scrimmage before missing SKC's next five preseason games and two regular-season games.
The absence of their 2019 team MVP and top scorer on a long-term basis is no doubt a tough pill to swallow, but Sporting KC should have the depth to cope. Under-the-radar arrival Gadi Kinda was a revelation while deputizing for Gutierrez in the first two regular-season games, and further up the field big-money forward Alan Pulido has delivered the goals. Gutierrez's absence also figures to open up more minutes for 18-year-old Gianluca Busio as the much-heralded US youth international looks to take the next step in his development.
Sporting, who returned to full team training on Monday, will hope to pick up where they left off once MLS resumes play. Peter Vermes' group had been looking like one of the most dynamic attacking teams in MLS prior to the season's suspension to the COVID-19 pandemic, scoring seven goals across two convincing victories against the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Houston Dynamo.
Gutierrez is in his third season with Sporting and coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him score 12 goals and pick up three assists in 32 games. He has 19 goals and five assists across 4,244 minutes for his MLS career, and also has 35 senior caps for Chile, scoring four goals.