OUT - Remi Walter (knee), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Alan Pulido (international duty)
QUESTIONABLE - Gadi Kinda (foot)
Luis Martins and Graham Zusi are off the injury report, which is good because the only other healthy right back is Kayden Pierre who played for SKC II on Friday.
Starting XI Predictions
The team is never quite full strength, what adjustments are getting made this week?
No Pulido, Who Plays Striker?
I’ll keep this short, because it’s been pretty clear what Vermes will do. Khiry Shelton will start at CF. It worked well last time out against the Colorado Rapids so I don’t imagine it’ll change. But I want to see Wilson Harris get some meaningful minutes instead of just a couple garbage time minutes.
Another name to watch is Tyler Freeman. He won’t start as he just played Friday for SKC II at striker, but he’s making a case for his first MLS appearance. He’s mostly played CF for SKC II this season and he plays the false 9 like Alan Pulido.
Can Graham Zusi Play 90 Minutes?
Going into the game against LAFC, Zusi was newly back on the bench after being injured again. Unfortunately Jaylin Lindsey went down injured and Zusi was forced into action in the first half. I wasn’t confident he’d be fit enough to play the 55-60 minutes he needed to avoid also being subbed off, but he did.
If he can’t go, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone like Cameron Duke play right back as a sub. Kayden Pierre is a right back, but he played Friday for the second team and, no offense to him, but he doesn’t look ready for MLS action as the USL has given him a bit of trouble at times.
What did SKC II Tell Us?
I already kind of spoiled this with the above sections, but besides Freeman and Pierre, Graham Smith and John Pulskamp started for SKC II. None of those moves are likely to impact the first team outside of maybe the bench.
Notably absent from the second team were Ozzie Cisneros, Grayson Barber and Amadou Dia, who have all been with the second team somewhat regularly. I’d expect at least Barber and Dia on the bench for Sporting.
No Other Changes Yet
I’d suspect everything else is the same unless Gadi Kinda is healthy enough to play, though why risk him with two and a half weeks off (!) before Sporting play again. Same of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin.
So that’s Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell completing the forward line. Felipe Hernandez, Roger Espinoza and Gianluca Busio in the midfield. And Martins, Andreu Fontas and Ilie Sanchez rounding out the back line.
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Harris, Kinda, Rad, Barber, Isimat-Mirin, Duke, Freeman, Dia
With just a couple injuries and international absences, the bench looks kind of thin. At some point, some of these young guys have to get on the field. Maybe it won’t be against the Galaxy, but there are a handful of games during this extended Gold Cup break where the team will be without Pulido and Busio and something has to give otherwise you risk running the veterans into the ground. It’s still early in the season but the minutes add up.
The voting shows some definite uncertainty on the backline. Between injury concerns and consistently failing to shut other teams out, it seems like some of you want a change back there.
The midfield is a bit divided but you all agreed with me and the forwards line up too, though some were holding out hope for Pulido. They are calling it an international absence, but I think that foot has more than a little something to do with it as Busio is leaving for the same competition and not on the report.
Here is your lineup and full vote tallies by category (with the starters in italics):
Goalkeepers: Melia (99.1%), Pulskamp (0.9%)
Defenders: Fontas (93.5%), Zusi (72.0%), Ilie (67.3%), Martins (57.9%), Dia (38.3%), Isimat-Mirin (35.5%), Lindsey (25.2%), Puncec (5.6%), Pierre/Smith (0.9%)
Midfielders: Busio (97.2%), Espinoza (75.7%), Hernandez (62.6%), Kinda (45.8%), Ilie (14.0%), Walter (2.8%), Duke (1.9%), Freeman/Barber/Cisneros (0.9%)
Wingers: Salloi (96.3%), Russell (95.3%), Shelton (5.6%), Busio (2.8%), Duke/Barber/Pulido (0.9%)
Strikers: Shelton (53.3%), Pulido (32.7%), Harris (11.2%), Salloi (2.8%), Busio (1.9%)
What do you think? Did I get the lineup right? If you voted for something different, tell us in the comments. Knowing what you know now, how would you change your lineup? What is your ideal Starting XI? Let’s talk about it!
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