By Charles Wollin
The goal was not just an ESPN's SportsCenter Top Ten play, but magical enough to be voted U.S. Men's National team goal of the year. The shot went in, and with it delivered a famous win for the USA in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final against ancient Mexico. It was his own opening act. It catapulted him to center stage as perhaps... Benny Feilhaber, the next American soccer star...
Many would agree that Feilhaber would lead the next generation for the US alongside the likes Michael Bradley and Jose Altidore, but this hasn't been the case. Unfortunately, his club football has had its ups and downs through injuries and inconsistencies.
Today, Benny Feilhaber can start fresh again. Sporting KC sent allocation money to the New England Revolution in exchange for Feilhaber, plus a first round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and a second round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to New England.
The move has big time implications for a success-hungry team in Kansas City. Feilhaber came to Major League Soccer just last year, and was selected by New England in the returning US National Team player allocation process. He fared well in 2011, played in 23 games, scored 4 goals and had 7 assists. 2012 was a different story, Feilhaber's production dropped off considerably with just 2 goals and 2 assists through 30 games in all competitions.
With a new chapter in 2013, Feilhaber can look forward to playing a prominent role in Kansas City. He will play under one of the league's best coaches, Peter Vermes. In the midfield with Graham Zusi and just behind a front three of CJ Sapong, Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury, Feilhaber will be a force. Known for his craftiness, creativity, energy, and ability to unlock defenses, Sporting Kansas City will become fun to watch next season and should win the Eastern Conference.
Feilhaber's presence will help take Sporting to another level. His experience at the International level speaks volumes. He has played at both the Youth and Senior level for the United States, playing in six major tournaments ranging from the 2008 Olympics, the 2007 & 2009 Gold Cups, the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup.
It is fair to say since the name change and brand new Livestrong Park, Sporting Kansas City has become a top club in the MLS. Benny Feilhaber both adds quality to the side and also has the chance to finally right the ship on his own club career.