Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sporting Kansas City in search of goalkeepers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sporting Kansas City are on the lookout for a new No. 1 goalkeeper – and maybe a new No. 2 as well.The club declined options on both Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum on Tuesday, leaving 21-year-old Jon Kempin (pictured above) as the only returning member of the goalkeeping corps in 2015. That doesn't mean an automatic promotion for the young Homegrown, though.Injury and performance concerns led to the decisions not to bring back Kronberg and Gruenebaum.

READ: Foot injury to blame for Zusi's absence from USMNT camp
Kronberg, the longtime understudy to Kevin Hartman and then Jimmy Nielsen, became the No. 1 this year upon Nielsen's retirement. He was leading MLS in clean sheets with seven when he broke his left hand in a training accident in early July and never regained his form when he returned.

Gruenebaum, a Kansas City native acquired in an offseason trade with Columbus, made 11 starts in two separate stints as Vermes' first choice when Kronberg was hurt. But he also struggled with injuries, including a shoulder strain that forced Kempin into a starting role ahead of schedule.

Kempin made four appearances with three starts when Gruenebaum was hurt the first time, and earned a Save of the Week nod for stopping the only penalty he faced. Still, Vermes demurred when asked if Kempin – who also made 13 appearances on loan with USL PRO affiliate Oklahoma City Energy FC – could handle the No. 1 duties for Sporting going into 2015.

Sporting also declined options for wingers Toni Dovale and Sal Zizzo, midfielders Victor Munoz and Michael Kafari and parted ways with Olum – the new Kenyan international who was on the pitch for their 2012 US Open Cup and 2013 MLS Cup victories – at Olum's request so that he could join Malaysian side Kedah FA.Kansas City will retain his rights if he decides to return to MLS.

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