Sporting Kansas City's league-leading defense features the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year in Matt Besler and Goalkeeper of the Year in Jimmy Nielsen. Defender Aurelien Collin was also voted to the MLS Best XI.
While Besler, Collin and Nielsen rightfully garner a lot of the attention surrounding a season where the team allowed a league low 27 goals, a GAA of 0.79, they weren't the only people standing between MLS offenses and the back of the net.
Defender Seth Sinovic is part of Sporting KC's homegrown contingent, one of six players on the roster from the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Rockhurst High School graduate signed with the club in May 2011 after spending the 2010 season with the New England Revolution.
Sinovic made his club debut on May 25, 2011, in a 5-0 win over the Revolution in a US Open Cup qualifier. With starting left-back Roger Espinoza getting ready to leave for a month for duty with the Honduran national team, the club needed to find someone to hold down the fort, so to speak.
Sinovic said at the time he felt comfortable going out there after having played with the Revolution:
Obviously losing Roger is a huge deal for us. He's a World Cup-caliber player with Honduras. It (the experience) is something that I can really call on. I played quite a few games last year and kind of know what to expect each and every game out of a starter ... I definitely feel comfortable going out there.
How well did Sinovic do? When Espinoza returned, manager Peter Vermes kept Sinovic where he was and pushed Espinoza up into the midfield. Espinoza is no slouch, either. He just signed with Wigan Athletic on a free transfer.
Sinovic ended up making 20 starts in the regular season and became a fan-favorite by the end of the season. Helping the club run off a 14-match unbeaten streak didn't hurt matters any.
Just how important Sinovic had become to the team became apparent after he was selected by the Montreal Impact in the expansion draft. To re-acquire Sinovic, Vermes dealt team captain and longest-tenured player Davy Arnaud to Montreal for Sinovic and allocation money.
Why am I telling you all this? Simply put, this is stuff you probably wouldn't know if you weren't a fan of the club because Sinovic is one of those guys that simply goes to work and gets the job done without drawing a lot of attention to himself.
Sinovic has the speed required of all Sporting KC players, which is good because it allows him to get forward and participate in the club's high-pressure attack. This goal against Houston in the 2012 playoffs is a good example of what that speed allows him to do.
When the clip starts, Sinovic is the player at the top of the frame.
Sinovic is more dependable than anything else. He is more like a Chevy Malibu than a BMW—not flashy but gets the job done.
Sinovic is also pretty tough. While playing with his right hand in a cast, he went over the LED signboards at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, his left hand out to try to catch himself. When he came back up, you could see the blood coming from the cut it took 20 stitches to close.
If you're a little squeamish, you might not want to watch this.
Upon his return to action, a small banner had been made depicting Sinovic as MegaMan.
Some of you will probably think I'm biased in favor of Sporting KC players since it's the team I cover on a regular basis. That may be true, but I thought I would shine a spotlight on a player who doesn't get a whole lot of attention, but definitely deserves it.
Have someone you think is more underrated than Seth Sinovic? Let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to take a look and I just might change my mind.
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