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Sporting Kansas City’s 5 Key Players to the 2014 MLS Season

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Sporting Kansas City's 5 Key Players to Their 2014 MLS Season

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City hasn’t made a lot of changes this offseason since winning the 2013 MLS Cup against Real Salt Lake, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to compete in the Eastern Conference again this season. SKC is one of the better teams in MLS talent-wise, and they should be able to win enough games to make it to the 2014 MLS Playoffs.

However, the only worry for SKC will be that they might struggle in an Eastern Conference that has seen a lot of teams improve in the offseason. Sporting Kansas City is one of the best teams in MLS, but what about teams like Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union that have added major pieces to their teams in the offseason? SKC will have to work harder and improve on last season if they are to hold off the teams on the rise in the east.

With SKC it’s all about talent and prior MLS experience. It will also be interesting to see how the World Cup affects this team in the multiple game stretch that it should span in June, but I still think this team is too talented all around to collapse in a small stretch of games.

Here are the five most important players for Sporting Kansas City, who have to have good seasons for Kansas City to succeed in the Eastern Conference. Feel free to comment in the section below if you know of any player who I left off of this list that you think will be important.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Dom Dwyer

Dom Dwyer - MLS
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

SKC needs someone to step up besides Claudio Bieler who can score goals and is not in the midfield. A huge majority of the Eastern conference has gotten better in midfield, and Kansas City needs a second scoring forward. Dwyer can be that player.

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4. Matt Besler

Matt Besler - MLS
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Besler is just a solid player. He rarely makes major mistakes and can defend with the best of MLS.

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3. Claudio Bieler

Claudio Mieler - MLS
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Bieler is SKC’s leading returning goal scorer and led the team in shots taken as well. He’s going to have to maintain form if Kansas City is to once again make a run in the MLS playoffs.

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2. Eric Kronberg

Eric Kronberg - MLS
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

With Jimmy Nielsen retiring, Sporting Kansas City needs their new starting goalkeeper to step up. Nielson’s command of the SKC defense helped them immensely in previous seasons, so Kronberg must make an immediate impact.

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1. Graham Zusi

Graham Zusi - MLS
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Zusi is the best midfielder in MLS in the sense that he’s both talented offensively and defensively. In a World Cup year, he’ll need to show out before and after June, because this team could struggle during the games that he misses.