ANDREW VORCE - Thursday, September 12, 2013
Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad is quickly establishing himself as a clear cut starter for the midwestern power house.
The team has helped players reach their full potential before sailing across the Atlantic to play in England. Roger Espinoza made the move after the end of last season to Wigan Athletic, while fan favorite Kei Kamara flirted with a move to Norwich City at the beginning of the season before securing a permanent deal with MIddlesbrough FC.
The departure of Espinoza and Kamara leaves a definite gap in he lineup, but Saad has stepped up to earn his spot at the forefront of the conversation. In Major League Soccer Saad has made 18 appearances, starting 11 times. His on field contributions in the League include three goals and four assists out of 13 shots on goal.
His most recent heroics came in the CONCACAF Champions League where Sporting beat Honduran team Club Deportivo Olímpia in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Saad scored both goals to give Sporting a 2-0 away win, putting them on top of Group 2 with maximum points.
"It was definitely a good result for us as a team and it was good to get on top of the table with six points," Saad told Yanks Abroad in an interview. "It was a difficult environment playing in honduras but I feel like the team handled it well."
"It was important to get the early good and I'm glad I played a part in it. On my second goal, Dom (Dwyer) did really well to get in a good position to get a penalty and I was just there to step up. I think overall it was a good team effort."
Saad has done well to adapt to the unique style that Sporting Kansas City plays, a style that head coach Peter Vermes calls the "Sporting Way". The atmosphere in Honduras, however, wasn't enough to shake Saad and company into playing anything but their game.
"[The atmosphere] is completely different but we play our style of soccer any where we go," Saad said. "If we continue to do that then we will have no problem getting results."
After such an impressive run in 2013, it's no doubt that it's not just Vermes looking to get the most out of his striker. Since 2010 the striker has represented both the United States U20 team and the full Lebanese National Team once each, scoring a goal in each game.
The Lebanese National Team held a friendly with Oman on May 29th where Saad scored the only goal in a 1-1 draw where he was a starter. Due to the game being a friendly, Saad is still eligible to play for the United States team if called up by Jurgen Klinnsman.
A fact that Saad was fully aware of.
"I haven't had an official game with the Lebanese National Team," Saad said with a grin. "So technically I'm not bound to any team, so I don't know.
"I'm just concentrated on doing well at the moment and if the opportunity comes then I'll have to weigh out my options."
As the MLS season progresses, Saad is prepared to put the hard work in and let the rest handle itself. Vermes' message to his striker has been clear, 'be consistent'.
"Coach has been telling me to be consistent and to continue to not settle for what I've accomplished so far," Saad told YA. "Keep trying to achieve more and help the team out any way that I can. I feel like that's been my attitude. That's why I guess I've been pretty successful recently but I haven't been too caught up on that."
"I want to continue to help and continue making strides and help the team climb to the top of the table."
With the departure of Kamara in the summer transfer window, Saad has his stage set to cement his name in the Sporting KC line up.