Sporting KC decline option for Ilie Sanchez, in talks with Espinoza, Zusi

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez reacts after missing a scoring opportunity during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Seattle Sounders, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Nick Tre. Smith)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With Sporting Kansas City eliminated from the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, the deadline to make roster moves for the 2022 season is Nov. 30, and the club has declined the option of one of their top players.

The club declined the contract option for 31-year-old Spanish midfielder Ilie Sanchez.

Sanchez, known simply as Ilie, joined the club in 2017 and has tallied 144 appearances, 7 goals and 12 assists in the regular season.

Due to injuries along the backline in 2021, Ilie doubled as a center back giving the team much relief through a hectic schedule.

A native of Barcelona, Spain, Ilie spent time with the FC Barcelona Academy and played for their FC Barcelona B side.

He joined SKC on a two-year deal helping the team win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy in 2017. He was named an MLS All-Star in 2018.

Sporting also declined the contract options for Amadou Dia, Wilson Harris, Luis Martins, Roberto Puncec and Brooks Thompson.


  • Goalkeepers (2): Tim Melia, John Pulskamp
  • Defenders (5): Andreu Fontas, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Jaylin Lindsey, Kayden Pierre, Kaveh Rad
  • Midfielders (7): Ozzie Cisneros, Jake Davis, Cam Duke, Felipe Hernandez, Gadi Kinda, Jose Mauri, Remi Walter
  • Forwards (6): Grayson Barber, Tyler Freeman, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton

The club said they are in talks with Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi and Kendall McIntosh who are out of contract with the club following the end of their season.

Homegrown products Felipe Hernandez and Jaylin Lindsey will stay with the club in 2022, despite missing large parts of the end of the 2021 season due to suspension and injury, respectively.

SKC’s roster will continue to take shape through:

  • Sunday, Dec. 12: Half-day trade window (8 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14: MLS Expansion Draft (time TBD)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 15: End-of-Year Waivers (12 p.m. CT)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 15: Free Agency opens (12 p.m. CT)
  • Friday, Dec. 17: Re-Entry Process, Stage 1 (12 p.m. CT)
  • Thursday, Dec. 23: Re-Entry Process, Stage 2 (12 p.m. CT)
  • Tuesday, Jan. 11: 2022 MLS SuperDraft presented by Adidas (time TBD)

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