When: Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 7:30 PM CT (Kickoff 7:38)
Where: Children’s Mercy Park
How to Watch/Stream: Bally Sports KC (regionally) | Bally Sports Midwest Plus (regionally) |
ESPN+ (out of market or over VPN locally)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
The international break is coming to an end for Sporting Kansas City and they’ll return to action on Wednesday night against Western Conference foes, the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes already returned to action and will enter Wednesday’s match on short rest having travelled to Denver over the weekend.
The main story as SKC return to action is player availability. Both Alan Pulido and Gianluca Busio are away on international duty and Busio seems likely to never play in Sporting Blue again as his transfer rumors heat up. Felipe Hernandez is out for personal reasons. Plus two more players and coach Peter Vermes are in the MLS Health and Safety Protocols (aka they tested positive for COVID). That’s on top of a still lengthy injury report (see below) with four names on it.
San Jose’s Recent Form
The Earthquakes enter Wednesday winless in their last nine games! A promising start to the season has vanished as they haven’t mustered a win since May 7th against Real Salt Lake.
- June 19th @ Austin FC - 0-0 Draw
- June 22nd @ Orlando City - 0-5 Loss
- June 26th vs LA Galaxy - 1-3 Loss
- July 3rd @ Minnesota United - 2-2 Draw
- July 17th @ Colorado Rapids - 1-1 Draw
San Jose have pulled off draws against the mid-tier teams in the West. A team like Sporting should win, but all the absences makes it more questionable.
What’s changed for San Jose since these clubs met earlier in the year?
Sporting and San Jose played in May and since then there have been a few small moves. For all the moves from their 2020-21 offseason, we’ve got that here.
IN: The biggest signing is defender Nathan from FC Zurich in Switzerland. The center back joined on a three-year, Targeted Allocation Money deal at the beginning of June. He already has two starts and has gone the full 90 in each game. The team also added midfielder George Asomani who they drafted in the MLS SuperDraft but only recently signed to a contract.
OUT: Just a single change here as Eric Calvillo has gone out on loan to USL Championship side Orange County SC. He hadn’t made a first team appearance so that shouldn’t hurt much.
OUT - Alan Pulido (Int. Duty - Mexico), Gianluca Busio (Int. Duty - USA), Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Two (maybe one?!) Unknown COVID positives
QUESTIONABLE - Gadi Kinda (foot), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Remi Walter (knee), Roberto Puncec (undisclosed)
*Cowell was added to the OUT column with his callup to the United States Men’s National Team. Plus reports are one player could come out of COVID protocols and be available.
Official #SportingKC Injury / Availability Report:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) July 20, 2021
OUT - Pulido (Mexico), Busio (USA), Hernandez (personal reasons)
QUESTIONABLE - Lindsey (hamstring), Puncec (undisclosed), Kinda (foot), Walter (knee)
Puncec is new and wasn't previously known. The report is brutal. #SKCvSJ
OUT - Matt Bersano (left knee), Tommy Thompson (left knee), Jackson Yueill (Int. Duty - USA), Cade Cowell (Int. Duty - USA)
QUESTIONABLE - Carlos Fierro (left thigh), Judson (lower back), Benji Kikanovic (right thigh)
GOALS: Daniel Salloi (7), Alan Pulido (6), Gadi Kinda (3), Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton (1)
ASSISTS: Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell, Gianluca Busio (3), Felipe Hernandez (2), Alan Pulido, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Gadi Kinda, Jaylin Lindsey (1)
GOALS: Cade Cowell (4), Javier “Chofis” Lopez (3), Chris Wondolowski, Jackson Yueill (2), four with one (1)
ASSISTS: Cowell (4), Cristian Espinoza (3), Carlos Fierro, Shea Salinas (2), three with one (1)
Starting XI Predictions
That has it’s own story, as always.
Looking at the standings, it’s pretty clear Sporting Kansas City should win this game. They are in better form. They are the better team. And they are at home.
But... and there is always a but, they are pretty banged up right now. Between injuries, COVID protocols and international absences, they are hurting. Still, that’s no excuse. They are three points out of first place with a game in hand on the Seattle Sounders. They need to win heading into the weekend.
I reserve the right to revise this prediction if one of the COVID protocol players is someone like Salloi, Russell, Ilie or Espinoza. Otherwise, I think there is adequate depth to step up. Maybe add Zusi to that list, if Lindsey can’t go, Kayden Pierre would be making quite the leap.
Sporting KC are 7-1-3 against the Quakes with the only loss coming on the road in that weird 2019 season. They can’t afford to drop points at home. I’ll add the caveat that they sometimes struggle after losing their rhythm from long rest so they’ll have to find a way to overcome that too on Wednesday.
(Side note: I’ve been predicting draws or losses when I think SKC can win out of some weird, superstitious, belief. But I’m not superstitious. I know what I write doesn’t impact them. Go win!)
2-1 Sporting KC Win
What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.
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