Less than eight months after being acquired in one of the blockbuster trades of Major League Soccer’s offseason, Kelyn Rowe is again on the move.
Salt Lake acquired the player for $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster spot. The two clubs will split Rowe’s 2019 salary cap charge and salary — SKC owes $171,856 and RSL owes $100,000 — as first reported by the Kansas City Star.
It is unknown whether the deal also includes an agreement that Rowe not play against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, when Real Salt Lake visits Children’s Mercy Park.
“I’m excited for a new opportunity with Real Salt Lake,” Rowe said in a club statement. “They have an exciting group of players that have come together well this year and I’m looking forward to what I can contribute.”
Rowe, 27, played 690 minutes for Sporting this season and recorded one assist, but hasn’t scored. He also hasn’t played in a regular season game since June 8. His most recent competitive appearance came on July 18, when he started for Sporting’s USL Championship affiliate, Swope Park Rangers, in a fourth round U.S. Open Cup game.
That Rowe was relegated to a lower division team at all was a surprising turn, especially since he was previously touted as one of the top American midfield talents in MLS and was seen as the centerpiece of a three-team trade that transferred him from the New England Revolution last December.
As part of that trade, Sporting also received $200,000 in General Allocation Money and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money from the Colorado Rapids.
Sporting likely expected Rowe, who is in the final year of his contract and eligible for free agency Jan. 1, to play a central role on the field for the entire 2019 season and possibly longer, but his production has been one of a few disappointments in a season that so far has the club in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 7-9-7 record.
In moving him to Salt Lake, Kansas City avoids potentially losing him in free agency and getting nothing in return. The club also gets an international roster spot, which will enable it to officially sign Portuguese left back Luis Martins, who started training with Sporting this week.
Despite his struggles this season, Rowe should have considerable options if he explores free agency. For now, he joins sixth-place RSL, which is fighting to stay in playoff position.