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Sporting Kansas City didn't do too much with their roster moves in terms of the offseason priority checklist. By picking up Tim Melia's 2016 option, however, they completed the number one priority. Sporting Kansas City made their first moves of the offseason Wednesday, picking up options on 12 players and declining one for Jalil Anibaba. They also announced that five players will be out of contract but that they will extend offers to all five of them.
Earlier in the offseason, I made an offseason checklist for Sporting KC and they actually achieved one of the items on the list with this series of moves. As the offseason goes on, I'll continue to update the list after the re-entry draft, the MLS Superdraft in January, and after other player moves such as releases or signings.
Here is the updated list as a result of the roster moves.
1) Re-sign Tim Melia Achieved 11/25. Sporting KC picks up Tim Melia's 2016 option.
2) Sign a Centerback
3) Add forward depth
4) Restructure Graham Zusi's contract...
5) ...and give that money to Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth
6) Make a defensive midfield decision
7) Release Marcel de Jong, Mikey Lopez and Jacob Peterson
8) Sign a backup keeper
9) Make a decision at left back
10) Depth at attacking midfielder
So not a lot of headway made into the list, but a big priority is checked off by picking up Melia's option. It gives them another season with a solid keeper at the helm and then they can reassess Kempin's status -- should he re-sign with Sporting KC -- at the end of 2016.
By declining Anibaba's option, Sporting creates more depth issues with centerback but this could also point to them looking to fill it in the offseason. Plus, Anibaba was making too much money ($150k) to never play. The offers to the out-of-contract players will be the biggest indicators as to what Sporting KC's strategies are going into the rest of the offseason. If they don't get Soni Mustivar back, then defensive midfielder jumps to the top of the list. If they don't get Paulo Nagamura or Mikey Lopez back, then midfield depth becomes an issue. Seth Sinovic could force Sporting KC's hand at left back and Jon Kempin could make the keeper situation beyond 2016 very interesting.
Below is the updated roster for players under contract for the 2016 season. There are currently 20 players with eight open spots for Sporting KC to fill before the start of the season.

Tim Melia

Saad Abdul-Salaam

Matt Besler

Marcel de Jong

Amadou Dia

Kevin Ellis

Chance Myers

Ike Opara

Erik Palmer-Brown

Bernardo Anor

Roger Espinoza

Benny Feilhaber

Jimmy Medranda

Amobi Okugo

Jordi Quintilla

Dom Dwyer

Krisztian Nemeth

Jacob Peterson

Graham Zusi

Connor Hallisey

Open Roster Spot

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Open Roster Spot

Sporting Kansas City announced several roster changes on Wednesday. The club picked up the options for 12 players but declined the option for defender Jalil Anibaba. KC is also negotiating with 5 players whose contracts are up at the end of the year. With their off season in full swing, Sporting Kansas City announced several roster changes today.
As of December 31st, Jon Kempin, Mikey Lopez, Soni Mustivar, Paulo Nagamura and Seth Sinovic will all be out of contract. But don't panic, the club is extending offers to each of them and "contract negotiations are ongoing."
Sporting KC is saying goodbye to Jalil Anibaba, as the club declined his option for the upcoming 2016 season. He is able to go into the MLS Re-Entry draft in December. Anibaba was acquired from Orlando City in a trade a year ago after OCSC selected him in the Expansion Draft. He finished the season with 1 goal and 4 assists as he started 14 games before suffering through injuries the second half of the season.
On the other side, Sporting KC did pick up the options for 12 players. Those players are Saad Abdul-Salaam, Amadou Dia, Kevin Ellis, Benny Feilhaber, Connor Hallisey, Jimmy Medranda, Tim Melia, Chance Myers, Krisztian Nemeth, Ike Opara, Erik Palmer-Brown and Jordi Quintilla.
Those 12 will join Bernardo Anor, Matt Besler, Marcel de Jong, Dom Dwyer, Roger Espinoza, Amobi Okugo, Jacob Peterson and Graham Zusi who were all already under contract for 2016.
That brings the official number of players on the roster to 20. The rest will be filled in perhaps by a couple big signings from overseas, as well as the picks from the Re-Entry Draft and the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. SKC has the 11th pick in both drafts.

Dom is reunited with Soony Saad, all the moves and rumors from around MLS, and a presidential candidate calls out Qatar for the World Cup. While you sit at work on a cloudy day... allow Dom and Sydney on their honeymoon to make you reassess some of your life choices.

A photo posted by Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) on Nov 24, 2015 at 8:37pm PST

I think I found the perfect spot he likes..... #Tigergasm
A photo posted by Dom Dwyer (@ddwyer14) on Nov 18, 2015 at 3:47am PST

The classic bromance was even rekindled!

What a surprise @soonysaad #onenightonly #Bangkok
A photo posted by Dom Dwyer (@ddwyer14) on Nov 23, 2015 at 2:14am PST

The final hasn't even been played yet, but the MLS off season is in full swing for several teams with rumors circulating and moves being made all around the league.
New England declined six player options including Jermaine Jones.
Tally Hall was among the eight players whose options were declined by Orlando City after their inaugural season. Eric Avila and Corey Ashe also had options declined and now they will become the first two Free Agents ever in MLS, as the new CBA set it up for the first time this off season.
The Rapids are in talks with Carlos Vela.
Some ownership shuffling is going on in Houston right now as the Dynamo are set to have a new majority owner. Gabriel Brenner is going to buy out AEG's portion, who is also in control of the LA Galaxy. This is significant because if the deal gets done it would give "MLS different majority owners for each of their existing 20 clubs and proposed four new ones."
A few MLS standouts have their eyes on an off season loan overseas:
Bradley Wright-Phillips eyes Premier League loan - ESPN FCMichael Bradley intrigued by Serie A loan return in January | Soccer By Ives
USMNT star prospect, Gedion Zelalem has been successful in his loan from Arsenal to Rangers FC in Glasgow, Scotland. So much so, that Rangers want Gedion Zelalem to stay for full season.
While the MLS is on the rise and has the world talking, the Chinese Super League is rapidly growing with high hopes as well. Former England boss, Sven-Goran Eriksson, is now coaching in China and he thinks Wayne Rooney should move there when his contract with Man U is complete.
A candidate for the President of the United States has called out Qatar for spending $200 billion on the World Cup, while spending basically nothing on the fight against ISIS and global terrorism.

"All of this has got to change. Wealthy and powerful Muslim nations in the region can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect the United States, our young men and women, our tax dollars, to do their work for them."

On a more cheerful note, Gyasi Zardes surprised a young fan on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and gave him some swag. Ellen is the best.
With Kei Kamara flying high and looking to advance to MLS Cup, wrote a cool piece about his journey as a refugee from Sierra Leone in the midst of a horrible Civil War, to a beloved soccer star in America.

Football was the refuge. When the shooting stopped, Kamara and his friends cleared a space in the streets and started to play. "We just kicked an old ball around," he said, a warmth for his youth in spite of the horrors endured. "There was no league. No goals. It wasn't organised. The field was wherever you made it. It was just fun, and we played until the sun went down or the shooting started."

VOTE FOR NEMO! His brilliance in Portland is up for the Goal of the Year and has made the final four! He is up against Seattle's Obafemi Martins right now, but Nemeth's effort was more impressive. However, RSL had a stunning team set piece goal that will be difficult to beat the next round. Vote and check out the videos of the top four goals right here.
Happy Holidays! Check out all the Christmas family pictures some of the guys took.... because wow.. just WOW!