Days after defeating D.C. United 4-0, the Kansas City Wizards have officially acquired the services of Indian striker Sunil Chhetri.
Manager Peter Vermes said Tuesday that Chhetri had received his P-1 visa and approval of his International Transfer Certificate and will now be available to play for the Wizards.
Chhetri agreed to terms on Thursday night and has trained with the team for a week. Vermes said Chhetri would likely feature somewhere in an attacking role in the center of the field similar to the way he has played in the I-League and for the Indian national team.“He could probably play wide as well, but he hasn’t had a lot of time in his career playing there,” Vermes said.
With 11 international players and only 10 international roster spots, the Wizards are thinking creatively in order to comply with MLS roster limits. The team is looking into acquiring green cards for players such as Jimmy Nielsen, Stephane Auvray and Chettri to meet its senior international limit.
Vermes said Ryan Smith’s father is also an American, and he may have the option to pursue citizenship.
Vermes will have to make another tough decision no matter how those efforts work out. Chhetri’s signing means Kansas City must free up another roster spot to come down to the 24-player limit.
The team will carry two goalkeepers, Nielsen and Eric Kronberg. Longtime trainee Alex Horvath is now an MLS-pool goalkeeper who will train with the team.
Vermes said Ryan Smith’s scans on his right ankle were negative on Monday and the midfielder had been running in training. Smith was forced off late in the Wizards' 4-0 victory against D.C. United after assisting on one goal and notching one of his own.
“He’s just going to slowly work himself back in,” Vermes said.
After making an instant impact, Smith will have plenty of timely to recuperate. The team will not play an MLS match this weekend, instead traveling to St. Louis to complete the second leg of the Supporters Showdown against AC St. Louis. Kansas City won the first meeting 2-0 in the preseason.
Chance Myers also worked out on Tuesday but did not train with the team. Myers had established himself as a leading competitor for the team’s right forward role during the preseason before being forced to miss the D.C. game with an injured hamstring.