Out: Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum.
In: Luis Marin and a player to be named later.
That’s essentially the “trade” in goalkeepers for Sporting KC this early offseason, as longtime backup Kronberg (Montreal) and suddenly well-traveled Gruenebaum (San Jose) found new homes and KC boss Peter Vermes turned to 31-year-old Chilean vet Marin as one piece of his goalkeeper competition.
Marin went to the 2010 World Cup on a Chile goalkeeping unit that included Claudio Bravo and Miguel Pinto. He’s made eight appearances for the national team and went on loan to Universidad de Chile last season after several years with O’Higgins.
With respect to the pair he replaces, it’s an upgrade in resume. And with 21-year-old Homegrown kid Jon Kempin — a US youth national team vet — will KC be looking for a veteran backup or more young competition? The former is more likely, though Vermes could look to a strong GK class at the 2015 SuperDraft in order to bring in competition; Penn State’s giant brick wall Andrew Wolverton will be joined by Syracuse’s Alex Bono and Northwestern’s Tyler Miller as hot young prospects, but all three would likely require Sporting’s No. 10 overall pick.
It’s easy to see Marin between the sticks on Opening Day, and he joins a KC team that wasn’t porous in the back. Despite dealing with several injuries and the World Cup absence of Matt Besler, KC allowed the fourth-fewest goals in MLS and finished a win out of the third seed in the East. One more goal save here or there could’ve done the trick.
Sporting also added Hungarian striker Kristian Nemeth and Haitian mid James Marcellin. Read Vermes thoughts on the trio here.