[MLS] The Kansas City midfield will look a whole lot different in 2010. Englishman Ryan Smith and Moldovan Igor Kostrov have signed MLS deals and the club has reached an agreement with another Englishman, Craig Rocastle.
In light of Kerry Zavagnin’s retirement, Herculez Gomez’s move to Mexico, Roger Espinoza's move to left back, and other changes, these three signings further re-shape the team under the aegis of Coach Peter Vermes, who took over duties full-time after serving as interim head coach for the final 12 games of the 2009 season.
“We’re excited to add three talented players to our roster,” said Vermes in a team press release. “Smith [left] and Kostrov [right] will both play on the flank for us and they both bring pace and skill to their positions.”
Smith, 23, began his career in the youth system of Arsenal and debuted for the Gunners first team at age 16. He comes to MLS from Crystal Palace after playing for Leicester, Derby County, Millwall, Southampton, and Palace, which released him in January. He’s been on trial during the preseason. Kostrov, also 23 and a trialist this preseason, has played professionally in his native country and Israel.
Rocastle, 28, reached the Premier League with Chelsea seven years ago, but went out on loan until he joined Sheffield Wednesday two years later. He also played for Oldham and Port Vale and in Greece with Thrasivoulos Filis. He comes to MLS from Forest Green Rovers in the Blue Square Premier League, also known as the Football Conference. He joined the Wizards on trial during their recent trip to Arizona.
“[Rocastle] is a guy that’s clean on the ball and sees the game really well,” Vermes said of the central midfielder. His contract is contingent upon issuance of a P-1 work visa. He joined Kansas City on a trial basis near the end of the team’s preseason preparations in Arizona.
Goalkeepers Louis Crayton and Boris Pardo have been cut, leaving Danish newcomer Jimmy Nielsen as the projected starter and Eric Kronberg, a member of the team since 2006 who has yet to play a first-team league game, as the backup. Crayton played 18 games the past two MLS seasons for D.C. United and came to preseason camp on trial; Pardo joined Kansas City in 2008 but didn’t play a league match.
Kansas City plays a scrimmage against University of Missouri-Kansas City Tuesday and faces A.C. St. Louis of the USSF Division II league on Saturday.