The dreaded “I” word, injuries. In sports, no one wants to hear that about their favorite players or club dealing with an injury. Luckily, nothing serious is afflicting any Sporting Kansas City players according to Head Coach and Technical Director Peter Vermes.
Here is a quick round-up of the players currently dealing with any sort of injuries.
As detailed by my colleague Bob Rusert, Medranda is out and his projected return has been bumped back slightly to June or July. Vermes reiterated that sentiment today at the clubs first preseason game. None of this is knew as everyone knew his surgery last year will hold him out quite a while.
Medranda was present today with the team and he seemed in good spirits, but he has a long way to go. His injury is exactly why SKC brought in MLS veteran Rodney Wallace to compete with Seth Sinovic for time at left back.
The first surprise of the day was that Opara didn’t play. He was warming up along with Botond Borath before the game on the secondary practice field but as each subsequent 11 player sets took the field, Opara (and Borath) were notably missing.
After the game, Vermes weighed in on why we didn’t see Ike.
“He’s been struggling a little bit with some tightness in one of his hamstrings but I expect him in full training on Monday.”
So hopefully there is nothing to worry about. Muscle injuries are something the team has consistently shown they want to be cautious with as to not risk reaggravation. It will be interesting to see if he gets some minutes in the next game on the 23rd against the Phoenix Rising trialists.
The center back that some thought spelled the end of Ike Opara’s time with SKC, or at least the ability to make such a trade, was also absent with injury. A team official called it a “minor injury.” When The Blue Testament asked Vermes after the game he said, “[Barath] had a little strain in his back and again, Monday, he should be back at full strength.”
In place of Barath and Opara, 2018 first round MLS SuperDraft pick Graham Smith stepped up to play along with 17-year-old SKC Academy member Mo Abualnadi. The third center back pairing were 2019 rookies Kamar Marriott (1st round) and Franky Martinez (3rd round).
We’ve known since Wednesday that Nemeth was going to sit out since he was recovering from a previously unreported surgery for an injury that bothered him during the second half of the season. The Blue Testament caught up with him after today’s preseason game and he confirmed the injury was a hernia and that the surgery went well. He said he expects to be back on the field in full practice on Monday and Peter Vermes also repeated that when asked.
Outlook and Observations
Right now, things look pretty positive. Everyone knew Medranda was going to be out a while and would miss the start of the season. Bob reporting that his return would be more likely in June or July is a bit of a downer for fans, but no one planned on having him day one.
As for the other injuries, they seem minor, but they highlight something that could become an issue. At center forward, Erik Hurtado is there, but the second and third groups of 11 players on the field had 19-year-old Swope Park Ranger Wilson Harris up top. Vermes has previously stated Yohan Croizet and Daniel Salloi can play there, but they didn’t today.
For the center backs, there are two draft picks and a SKC Academy player who got chances to step in. The position is much deeper and if even just the first round pick, Kamar Marriott, gets signed, that leaves four more players available outside Opara and Barath, two of which make nearly $1 million in salary.