Sporting Kansas City officially confirmed what many of us had been anticipating for some time- Omar Bravo will not be playing for Sporting in 2012.(Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
The move does not come as a complete surprise to Sporting fans. There had been speculation that Bravo was not happy with Sporting Kansas City since the Eastern Conference Final, and that he was interested in moving on to another club.
Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes had the following to say about Bravo's departure. Per SportingKC.com:
"We want to thank Omar for his time with Sporting Kansas City on and off the field. His competitive nature and saviness played a big part in our first season at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. We wish him nothing but success in his new ventures."
According to Andrew Wiebe, MLSsoccer.com's Sporting KC beat writer, Kansas City will retain the right's to Bravo should Omar decide to return to Major League Soccer in the future. Via Wiebe's article:
Kansas City also retained the Mexican's MLS rights should their leading scorer in 2011 decide to return to the league.
"Cruz Azul really wanted him, pursued it very hard with the league and with us, and Omar- I'm telling you- was in between a rock and a hard place," Vermes said. "He wasn't sure how to do it. He really wanted to stay. He loved playing in MLS and the challenge of it. But I think you are smart enough to figure out that obviously there were benefits on both sides that eventually got the deal done. That's really it."
In the big picture, the loss of Bravo isn't a deal breaker. I'm of the opinion that Convey will be able to fill in quite well on the left side of Sporting's attack. Plus, Convey is only 28 years old, and has made the last two MLS All-Star rosters, so there's not a question of having talent at that particular position. Still, losing a player that was able to score nine goals despite missing six weeks of the season due to a sports hernia is still going to hurt to some degree.
On the positive side of things, the Bravo transfer will free up another international spot on the roster as well as more cap space for Kansas City to continue to improve on what's already become one of the best young sides in Major League Soccer.