Roger Espinoza makes return to MLS, signs new deal with Sporting KC
Sporting Kansas City has turned to a familiar face to bolster its midfield: Roger Espinoza.
Espinoza returned to Sporting on Tuesday after spending the past two years with English side Wigan Athletic. The Honduran international agreed to terms with Wigan to tear up the final six months of his deal in order to sign for Sporting on a free transfer ahead of the 2015 season.
The decision brings the energetic midfielder back to the club where he started his career. Espinoza played five seasons in Kansas City (2008-2012) and won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before leaving to join Wigan in Jan. 2012. He floated in and out of the team amid a raft of managerial changes at the club before deciding to return to MLS this winter.
"I’m thrilled to be back in Kansas City," Espinoza said in a statement. "I always knew I would come back some day and I could not be more excited to re-join this club. I’m ready to get back to work and help this team win another championship."
Espinoza’s return constitutes a significant coup for a side in desperate need of his reliable industry in the center of the park. His diligence without the ball should aid Sporting’s bid to improve its pressure in midfield and provide Sporting manager Peter Vermes with the flexibility to deploy Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi in more advanced areas.
The addition of Espinoza also provides Vermes with an established and seasoned figure already steeped in Sporting’s approach. His arrival marks the latest in a series of changes for Sporting during this offseason, including the arrivals of Luis Marin and Krisztian Nemeth and the departure of Aurelien Collin to Orlando City SC.
"Roger was a big part of us establishing ourselves in Kansas City and Major League Soccer," Vermes said in a statement. "Now Roger returns to a club that has continued its evolution and he has the ability to help take us to the next level. It is rare for a player to leave a club and then come back, but this situation from day one has been great and we are very happy for Roger to don the Sporting Kansas City jersey again."