On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City lost yet another player to injury. Gerso Fernandes went down on an attempt to play a loose ball in front of the goal that was deftly saved by New England Revolution goalkeeper Cody Cropper. In the ensuing collision Gerso fell hard into the back of the goal and landed on the bar that the net is attached to on the ground. His wrist looked broken based on how he was favoring it and the obvious pain he was in.
After the game, his wife tweeted out a picture of him in a sling and we braced for the worst. As of yesterday’s practice, Sporting KC were “still evaluating Gerso’s wrist.”
Sounds like they are still evaluating Gerso's wrist so no update on his status yet. #SportingKC— Thad (@TheBackpost) April 30, 2019
This morning, the news is as bad as it looked. The KC Star is reporting that Gerso will undergo surgery for his left wrist which was broken. A timetable for return is currently unknown and won’t be known until after the surgery is completed.
Gerso is the latest person to be injured on Sporting KC. The Blue Testament wrote a story just eight days ago about injuries that, while accurate at the time, is already missing several players who have subsequently been injured (Ilie, Gerso).
Gerso’s injury opens the door for 2018 SKC Golden Boot winner Daniel Salloi to resume his starting left wing role. That would put him opposite of Johnny Russell but with little to no depth behind them. Yohan Croizet and Kelyn Rowe have played on the wing this year but recently they’ve been starting at other positions.
Practice Was Cancelled — Only Six Players are Healthy
Tom Martin from KCTV5 reported that yesterday’s practice actually had to be cancelled because Sporting KC didn’t have enough healthy bodies.
“Peter Vermes says this is probably the most guys #SportingKC has ever had out injured: ‘We had to cancel training yesterday cause we only had 6 guys for training.’”
In a sub-tweet Martin added that, “at present, 12 players would be able to compete… And [Vermes] expects that number to go up by the weekend.”
As for who else is injured, that’s really unclear. We know the following players are hurt: Jimmy Medranda, Jaylin Lindsey, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Rodney Wallace, Gerso and Erik Hurtado. It’s likely that Ilie Sanchez, Gedion Zelalem and Andreu Fontas, who had been dealing with injuries, are also hurt. Plus Tyler Freeman and Gianluca Busio are with the United States U-17s.
So that’s 12 players. However, there are 28 players on the roster. So even if we use the generous “12 players would be able to complete” number, then that’s still another four injured players we don’t know about. Sunday morning’s injury report should add some clarification.
Hardship Loans are Available
MLS Roster Rules do allow for “extreme hardship call-ups” in situations like these. Here is the quote from the league’s site:
Clubs may add players to their roster in cases of “Extreme Hardship.” Extreme Hardship exists when an MLS club has:
- fewer than four available outfield substitutes (less than 14 outfield players available)
- OR has fewer than two goalkeepers available.
The league further outlines how USL teams like the Swope Park Rangers may be able to help.
USL Player Short-Term Agreements in cases of Extreme Hardship: A club may sign players from its USL affiliate (on loan) to Short-Term Agreements (up to four-day contracts) for MLS League Season games only in cases of Extreme Hardship.
If there really are only 12 healthy players, one has to assume some of them are goalkeepers. If you forced me to pick from USL players who could be ripe for a call-up I’d probably go with midfielder Felipe Hernandez, who in my opinion is closest to earning a first team contract. Then left back Alexsander, who while somewhat defensively suspect is young and dynamic in attack. And finally maybe center forward Wilson Harris, who has been dealing with an injury of his own on and off.
During preseason, a few other SPR players were with Sporting KC including CF Ethan Vanacore-Decker, recently retired left back Justin Bilyeu, right back Mark Segbers, fullback/winger Will Little, midfielder Jake Davis and center backs Camden Riley and Mo Abualnadi.
The Blue Testament will bring you more on the injury front when the information becomes available.