Chad Ochocinco’s trial with Sporting Kansas City was scheduled to end today, technically the final day of his original four-day stint. But the club announced Friday that the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver will play in a reserve game against the Kansas City Brass on Monday.
“We felt he earned that right,” assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin said in a phone interview as Sporting prepared to board a plane to Chicago for Saturday’s match against the Fire. “We’re not expecting the world or that he will come in and make a huge impact right off the bat, but he warranted that at the least.”
Zavagnin said expectations for Ochocinco were low when he arrived in Kansas City, but he proved to be a quick learner on the training field and impressed the staff and players with his professionalism, dedication to improvement, and ability to fit in with the team quickly and seamlessly.
Ochocinco won’t play the full 90 minutes against the Brass since his match fitness remains a work in progress. Zavagnin said he would likely play somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes to get the true feel of an MLS trial and test himself and the progress he’s made in a competitive match.
But just because Ochocinco is getting a chance to show what he can do in a game situation doesn’t mean he is close to MLS ready or earning a contract with the team.