Sporting Kansas City needed to fill the void left by Benny Feilhaber during the offseason.
The talented playmaker signed with Los Angeles FC and his departure left a huge gap in the team’s midfielder. Feilhaber is a player with a lot of experience and he was the heart and soul of SKC. But with the season approaching quickly, the franchise needed to do something. And according to several reports, Feilhaber’s replacement comes from Chile and goes by the name of Felipe Gutierrez.
Sporting KC officially signed the Chilean national team midfielder to a designated player contract Tuesday. The deal spans three seasons with a club option for a fourth. The 27-year-old will immediately join the team’s pre-season camp.
Gutierrez has a lot of international experience. He played several years with FC Twente in the Dutch Eredivisie and also possesses stints with Real Betis (Spain) and Internacional Porto Alegre (Brazil). Furthermore, he also played with Chile in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 Copa America, and the 2016 Copa America Centenario. He also participated in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
His resume is impressive, no doubt. But what can he bring to Sporting KC? Are there any unique traits from him that can help SKC? And most importantly, could he fill the void left by Feilhaber’s departure?
What can Gutierrez bring to the MLS?
First of all, Gutierrez can add positional versatility in midfield. He adopted an attacking role while playing for Universidad Catolica in Chile, but has turned into a reliable central midfielder and even operated as a defensive midfielder in his latest stints with Internacional and Betis. It remains to be seen where he will slide in the starting XI, though. With Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez and recently-signed Yohan Croizet in the fold, Gutierrez will likely send one of those to the bench or deploy Croziet to the wing.
He does have some unique things that will allow him to replace Feilhaber. His passing ability and vision are both off the charts. Gutierrez can also make an impact on both ends of the pitch, and he is a technical player who can dominate the field with his intelligence. It’s quite easy to see what he can do at his best, and arguably one of his best moments came when playing for Twente.
He seems to be an excellent addition to SKC. It remains to be seen whether he is able to adapt to the MLS or not. But talent-wise, he should be able to make an impact on American soil quicker than expected.