Sporting Kansas City will be looking for revenge against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. They have lost both previous matchups against RSL this season. At least there is a positive injury report, contrary to the last meeting when all three Designated Players were unavailable.
OUT - Felipe Hernandez (suspension), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - None!
Once again no one new on the SKC injury report. Considering how banged up Sporting were when these teams last met, this will be a welcome change. RSL also confirmed that Albert Rusnak is out due to health and safety protocols.
Starting XI Predictions
No reason to string this out, let’s hit the high points.
Will Alan Pulido Start?
During the post-match press conference after Sporting KC’s big win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, it had to be asked why Alan Pulido didn’t play. Peter Vermes indicated he was close to putting him in. “I was actually bringing him in at half time,” said Vermes. The goal just before the half changed the plans and the Zusi goal kept it to not needing Alan at all.
Vermes on Pulido: "I was actually bringing him in at half-time."— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) November 21, 2021
He decided to pull back since they were ahead. He said he "definitely has 45 minutes in him." #SportingKC #SKCvVAN
If he had 45 minutes in his legs last week, does that mean he’ll have 60 by this weekend? If so, I say you start him. Shelton played really well, but Real Salt Lake are going to sit in like they did against Seattle and look to hit on the counter. Pulido will be more valuable in the build up than Shelton since his touch is better and the space will be tight.
The only flaws with this plan are: 1) Vermes may want to leave in Pulido if it’s level and 2) if the game goes to PKs and Pulido has been subbed off, you lose your best PK taker. Hopefully KC are so far ahead none of this matters.
Last week I questioned if Gadi Kinda had enough minutes in his legs to start and I was wrong. He was more than capable out there and I suspect it’ll be him and Walter again with Ilie Sanchez behind them. I’m still not convinced Ilie is the team’s best d-mid on the team, but PV seems to be playing him there.
No other changes either.
The defense stays the same. Obviously the wingers and GK too. That leaves a max of one change baring injury.
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Shelton, Espinoza, Duke, Barber, Puncec, Harris, Dia, Mauri
You have it as I do. It’s actually nice kind of knowing what is coming because the lineup is so solid. I’m still not convinced Walter at the 6 and Espinoza ahead of him would be better, but I don’t suspect it’ll happen.
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 (100%)
Defenders: Fontas/Zusi/Isimat-Mirin (98.6%), Martins (95.7%)
Midfielders: Kinda (97.1%), Walter (94.2%), (38.6%), Ilie (87.0%), Espinoza (17.4%)
Wingers: Russell (100%), Salloi (100%)
Strikers: Pulido (76.8%), Shelton (24.6%)
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