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Sporting KC begins season shorthanded, Pulskamp to start in goal

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Young keeper slated to get his first MLS start on Saturday

John Puslkamp making a save for SKC II
Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City will go into the season opener versus the New York Red Bulls shorthanded with Tim Melia out. Melia is expected to be back “in a few weeks.”

“John Pulskamp is our keeper and we will be announcing that we have a short term loan on a keeper,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes told media.

Telling fans that the number one keeper is out is never the news you want to hear as a fan or deliver as the coach. Veteran keeper Kendall McIntosh is also out along with Academy graduate Brooks Thompson.

With three of their four keepers out of commission, Sporting KC signed a loan deal for Parker Siegfried with USL Championship side Louisville City FC. Sporting KC acquired Siegfried’s college protected rights from New York City FC in exchange for a natural 2023 MLS SuperDraft third round pick.

Injury update: Tim Melia, Amadou Dia, Graham Zusi, Kendall McIntosh, Brooks Thompson are all out and unavailable

Vermes elaborated on McIntosh, “We expect that Kendall will be back pretty quickly, he just got hit in the face and had a little issue with his eye. We just want to make sure he is right before bringing him back. We expect him back in the next week or the week after.”

Melia may take a little longer. Vermes put it positively. “Tim is actually progressing very quickly so I would say over the next few weeks he has a chance to be back as well. It’s not a long term thing, it’s a short term thing.”

Homegrown keeper Thompson has been out since late last season and is expected back over the summer.

Pulskamp

Sporting KC signed Pulskamp in preseason of 2020 after a good campaign in 2019 with SKC’s USL squad followed up by a strong spring training with the first team. Pulskamp was signed as a Homegrown despite not having played in SKC’s Academy. He did play in the LA Galaxy Academy and SKC sent allocation money to the Galaxy to acquire his Homegrown rights. Pulskamp has also been with US youth soccer at several different levels.

“I have all the confidence in the world in John,” Vermes explained. “Its amazing when I look at him sometimes that he is 19-years-old. The kid is a beast, he’s incredibly competitive, very confident as well and he should be because he’s got incredible tools. The chance that he is getting is deserved because he’s worked to put himself in this position so I think he is ready and prepared to play.”

Gianluca Busio spoke up about Pulskamp in a later press conference. “He deserves it. Obviously, some injuries that are unfortunate but everybody has to be ready to step up. I think we me playing with him for a couple years, he has shown a lot. Especially as a young player and especially as a goalie, that’s really big shoes to fill. He’s very confident and he’s loud and he will tell us what to do and that’s a really important trait for a goalie. I think he’s ready for it.”