Sporting KC newcomer Erik Thommy: "Everything goes in the right direction" for MLS

Attacking help is on the way for Sporting Kansas City.

German Bundesliga veteran Erik Thommy, along with Nigerian striker William Agada, is in line to possibly debut Saturday night when Sporting host LAFC at Children’s Mercy Park (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

Thommy, in particular, should help lift the team’s attacking potential after ending a four-year stint at VfB Stuttgart and posting 42 goals and 33 assists across nine seasons in his home country.

Capable of playing as a winger or in an attacking midfield role, the 27-year-old spoke about the league’s growing reputation when deciding to come to the Midwest. He signed earlier this summer with SKC through 2024 with an option for 2025.

“In Europe, you recognize that MLS has developed in the last years really fast,” Thommy said. “And you see also now there are a lot of good transfers they did in the last few weeks. You can see that everything goes in the right direction and makes it, for players in Europe, interesting. That’s why I’m here.”

Thommy is one of several European additions to SKC’s roster this year, following Belgian left back Logan Ndenbe, German center back Robert Voloder and Cyprian forward Marinos Tzionis – all three players rostered under the U22 Initiative. They also brought Spanish midfielder Uri Rosell back in free agency.

Perhaps most importantly, Thommy should bring more attacking punch to a club that’s normally challenging for the Western Conference’s top places in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Instead, they’re in 14th place (seven points back) and have scored a league-low 19 goals with just a dozen regular-season games remaining in their 2022 slate.

“Erik has some really good qualities that fit our DNA,” manager and sporting director Peter Vermes said. “He's got excellent transition in the game and he has a real instinctive sense to go and attack quite a bit. He's a good server of the ball but also can score goals and has a good nose for the goal.”

The injury context is crucial, as SKC have weathered season-ending knee injuries suffered by two Designated Players, Mexican international striker Alan Pulido and Israel international midfielder Gadi Kinda, before they even saw the pitch. Further, it was always going to be challenging for wingers Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell to replicate their combined 31 goals and 16 assists from a year ago.

That’s not to say Thommy will single-handedly pick up the slack, but he’s committed to raising SKC’s level amid a trying year. Notably, they still have a US Open Cup semifinal ahead next Wednesday when visiting USL Championship side Sacramento Republic.

“You have to believe on the pitch that you can win games,” Thommy said. “If you watch the games they are not worse than the other teams. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s small wrong decisions and we have to believe in ourselves. That’s the most important and then stay as a team.

“I know that we will be successful in the next few weeks if we work as a team and in the locker room, I saw some players who gave me a good feeling. If we stay together we will change results.”

Based on Thommy’s remarks, more players like him could come to MLS down the road as well.

“They know it’s a physical league and league that’s developed really fast into the future,” Thommy said of perception overseas. “It makes it attractive. Now when I talk to some guys there, they start to watch MLS. Before they watched American football, now they start to watch MLS too. In the next years it will be, I think – also of course the facilities, the good players and good coaches – a very interesting league for European players.”