Sporting Kansas City have been dealt some bad news ahead of their critical matchup against the Seattle Sounders. They could be down two of their top scorers, which account for 46 percent of the team’s scoring, in a game that is essentially a must win.
Update on 10/23/21: Salloi seems to confirm he’s out today and there are reports he’ll miss the rest of the regular season.
From the game notes:— Thad (@TheBackpost) October 23, 2021
• MID - Jose Mauri (Ankle) • FWD - Daniel Salloi (Ankle)
• DEF - Jaylin Lindsey (Hamstring) • MID - Felipe Hernandez (Suspended) • FWD - Alan Pulido (Knee)
Well that’s some pretty s#*tty news. The additions to the report are obvious in Daniel Salloi and Jose Mauri. Let’s break those down.
Starting XI Predictions
If Daniel Can’t Start, Who Can?
Let’s be clear, there are no other natural left wingers on this roster. However, there are a handful of guys that can play there if they need to. Khiry Shelton and Johnny Russell have both played there. Shelton to the LW would make some sense because there is a natural CF available to step in (Wilson Harris). Plus, Peter Vermes can keep Shelton on the field (though LW is by far his worst spot on the forward line).
Other options are rookie Homegrown Grayson Barber, who has just one start and 110 MLS minutes over five appearances. Also, they could go with a midfielder, like Gadi Kinda or Cam Duke, and convert them to the wing. While Duke has been strong, he looked uncomfortable in limited minutes there early in the year. He and Kinda are definitely both better in the middle of the field but if you stick with Khiry at CF, you need someone who can score goals out left since it won’t likely come from the middle of the field.
If there is any doubt though, rest Salloi. You need him for the playoffs and unless things go very well, SKC are unlikely to close the gap with Seattle, even if they win this tough road game.
Jose Mauri Was Headed for the Bench Anyways, Right?
I had something all prepared about how Jose Mauri’s streak of starts was going to come to an end and then he got hurt. He has seven appearances, all starts, and all in a row. However, he was out of position on both Vancouver Whitecaps goals last weekend. I was imaging a world where Remi Walter takes back that starting d-mid role and Roger Espinoza returns to the starting lineup. It’s less ideal if Duke or Kinda are pushed to the wing instead of being able to sub on and help Espinoza when he gets worn down.
I don’t foresee any other changes
Just the dominos of covering for whoever may need to move to LW and d-mid as outlined, and it probably all stays the same. Personally, I’d start Wilson Harris at CF because Khiry was so disconnected from his teammates last week, but I’m guessing PV sticks with Khiry, so I’ll say that’s what happens.
It's hard not to notice how disconnected Shelton is from the rest of the team on this passing chart from @MLS. No connection with Salloi or any of the three midfielders. The thin lines from Zusi/Russell mean minimal passes. #SportingKC #VANvSKC pic.twitter.com/PR9UTQzP37— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) October 18, 2021
It’s always possible that Ilie Sanchez moves back to the midfield (or is at least depth there) if Nicolas Isimat-Mirin is finally back. Though this game is on turf, so it hardly seems like it’s worth the risk.
I’ve really got no clue on LW though...
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Harris, Dia, Barber, Davis, Rad, Ilie, Salloi, Puncec
If Daniel is in doubt, I hope he’s not dressed on the bench so Peter isn’t tempted to use him. It’ll be interesting to see if Isimat-Mirin reappears on the bench at least or if Puncec, who is soooo out of favor, gets that spot again.
Obviously the late injuries messed with the voting since none of you knew not to vote for them. You are also more optimistic that PV is saving Isi for this game because I’m not even certain he’ll be on the bench (he wasn’t versus Vancouver on that awful turf).
Here is your lineup and vote tallies (if a player gets at least 5% he’s listed) by category (with the starters in italics):
Goalkeepers: Melia (92.9%)
Defenders: Fontas (92.9%), Zusi (89.3%), Martins (85.7%), Isimat-Mirin (67.9%), Ilie (25.0%), Smith/Dia (7.1%)
Midfielders: Kinda/Walter (85.7%), Mauri (46.4%), Espinoza (28.6%), Duke/Ilie (17.9%)
Wingers: Russell (92.9%), Salloi (89.3%), Shelton (7.1%)
Strikers: Shelton (64.3%), Harris (21.4%), Kinda (7.1%)
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