On Sunday, Sporting Kansas City are set to face off against FC Cincinnati for the first meeting in the history of the clubs. SKC will have one less player to worry about as Designated Player and former Portland Timber striker Fanendo Adi will not be available for the game.
The Cincinnati Enquirer revealed that Adi will be suspended because of a drunk driving charge. Adi was stopped Sunday morning and charged with multiple offenses including driving while impaired, speeding and for not being in possession of a valid driver license.
Adi reportedly was going 102 MPH in a 65 MPH zone, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.124 and he produced a Ukrainian driver license.
According to the Enquirer, “under a collective bargaining agreement with MLS, Adi will be unavailable to play, practice, or participate in any other team activities pending the completion of a league substance abuse and behavioral health program.” That means Sporting KC won’t have to deal with him on Sunday.
SKC have more pressing matters at hand as the team is currently headed to Mexico to play Liga MX side Monterrey in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday. While no one from the team has said it, it seems very likely that most if not all the Sporting KC players won’t be available on three days rest, though don’t tempt Peter Vermes to start everyone. I and others have speculated that Tuesday’s signing Nicolas Hasler could be in the lineup as early as Sunday at Cincinnati.
Sporting KC and specifically Matt Besler will not miss the presence of Adi on the field. He infamously elbowed Besler in the face during the double post playoff game in Portland in 2015. Had VAR existed at the time, he may have been sent off and changed history. Two years ago he elbowed Ike Opara in the face and got a retroactive suspension from the league’s disciplinary committee. Sporting won’t miss him.
It’s possible Cincinnati won’t miss him either. He has yet to score despite the likelihood that he’s the highest paid player on the team. In his defense he’s missed time due to an ankle injury picked up in the Portland game on March 17th.
FC Cincinnati released an official statement on Adi’s situation Tuesday as well.
Waston and Saief Likely to Return
If no Adi is good news, then there is some bad news too. Kendall Waston (also known for getting violent with Sporting KC players) and United States international Kenny Saief are likely to return to the lineup for FC Cincinnati over the weekend. Waston had suffered a calf injury while on international duty with Costa Rica.
Saief was simply a sub who came on for 31 minutes last weekend. Head coach Alan Koch said, “we have to manage workloads of our players, health, getting them up to speed, match fitness, all of those variables.” He continued, “Kenny came from a place where he wasn’t playing week-in and week-out.”
Other Cincy Injury Concerns
Emmanuel Ledesma is an attacking option but he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Additionally, former Columbus Crew SC winger Kekuta Manneh was not available in practice on Tuesday. If Cincinnati are limited on offense and Sporting KC are either exhausted or playing backups, it could be a very boring game on Sunday.