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C.J. SapongC.J. Sapong
Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the club has agreed to lend forward C.J. Sapong and defender Kevin Ellis to the team's official USL PRO affiliate Orlando City Soccer Club.
The duo will join goalkeeper Jon Kempin and midfielder Christian Duke in Orlando today ahead of the Lions home match against the Charleston Battery tonight.
"This is a good opportunity for C.J. (Sapong) and Kevin (Ellis) to play in competitive games," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. "We will continue to re-evaluate and manage all of the guys on our roster, to maximize team and individual performance and growth. There is no set timeline for how long our players will be in Orlando, but this is precisely why we were so excited to enter into this agreement with Orlando City SC to get our players matches."
Sporting Kansas City entered into a two-year agreement with Orlando City SC in January in conjunction with Major League Soccer and USL PRO's new multi-year partnership. Manager Adrian Heath, the USL PRO's Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons, has Orlando City in first place with 10 games remaining as the club seeks to claim the Commissioner's Cup for a third straight campaign.
Sapong, 24, has one goal and one assist for Sporting KC on the year. The James Madison University product recorded five goals and five assists in 2011 to earn MLS Rookie of the Year honors and an invitation to the U.S. Men's National Team for appearances in two international friendlies. In 2012, Sapong was Sporting KC's second-leading scorer with nine goals while adding two assists. He has also contributed five goals and two assists in U.S. Open Cup competition in his career.
Ellis, 22, is also in his third professional season after signing as the club's second Homegrown Player in 2011. The Sporting KC Academy product made his MLS debut in a 3-2 win over Columbus at Sporting Park last month and earned his first MLS start four days later in a 1-1 draw against Vancouver. Ellis also made two career appearances in U.S. Open Cup competition, including Sporting Kansas City's fourth round match-up with Orlando City SC during this year's tournament.
Sporting Kansas City will have the option to recall any of the team's four players during the loan period. Forward Dom Dwyer has appeared in each of Sporting Kansas City's last three MLS matches after being recalled from Orlando City SC, where he scored a USL PRO-record 15 goals in 13 games this season.