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2017 Player Profiles: Sunny

Despite only starting 18 games in 2017, Sunny made his presence known.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about Sunny, the first thing that’s going to come to your mind is his physicality. He’s willing to do just about anything to win the ball, even if sometimes that means completely cleaning a guy out. This was, in essence, the story of 2017 for Sunny.

With eight yellow cards and an MLS Disciplinary Committee suspension, Sunny definitely upheld his standard of being a physical presence in the midfield this season. After coming back from his face injury in the middle of 2016, RSL fans were hopeful that we would get to see a complete and fired up Sunny for this season. Splitting time with Luke Mulholland for the third midfield slot, we didn’t get to see as much of him as necessarily expected. Since RSL typically liked to play a 4-3-3 with Albert Rusnak and Kyle Beckerman as locked in starters in the midfield, Luke and Sunny would battle it out each week to see who got the start and who got benched.

There were some games where you’d see Sunny be thrown into the mix over Luke because of his physicality. RSL coach Mike Petke would see that they had some strong attackers in the opposing team and felt we needed just a little extra defensive strength. Sunny has only scored once in his time here however we have had seven shutouts when he’s started or subbed on in the match.

The 2018 season will be an interesting one to see what happens with Sunny, will he continue to have to battle it out with Luke to get starts or will he maybe impress the coaches in preseason and get the starting spot to himself? It seems likely that one thing will remain the same though, Sunny is not going to stop challenging for the ball, no matter how much playing time he gets.