Sporting Kansas City are heading into their third game of the week and their seventh game in 22 days when they head to Allianz Field to play Minnesota United. Finally, rest is on the horizon (except for Daniel Salloi who is headed to the all-star game this week). So with a full week of rest coming does that mean the team just pushes through or will something finally give?
OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (hamstring), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - None
Minnesota United Injury / Availability Report:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) August 20, 2021
OUT - Franco Fragapane, Niko Hansen, Joseph Rosales, Dayne St. Clair
QUESTIONABLE - Jan Gregus, Jacori Hayes#MNUFC #MINvSKC https://t.co/GvLWkVGyp4
Shelton, who subbed on against Portland, is no longer on the report. No other changes. Minnesota are missing quite a few pieces though, even a few key players.
Starting XI Predictions
After Saturday, SKC are off until the following weekend. They don’t have another double game week until they play midweek against Minnesota on September 15th.
Roger Can’t Possibly Start Three Times in a Week, Right?
I was stunned Cam Duke wasn’t subbed on for Roger Espinoza against Portland (though at least Roger got a tiny rest). He looked tired for stretches and Duke has proven he’s worth MLS minutes. Right after the Shelton substitution, it seemed like the bench played a joke on Duke and told him he was going in because he sprinted about halfway to the coaches from the corner and they were laughing as he came back.
That said, since Gianluca Busio is gone, Hernandez is away and Isi is out forcing Ilie to CB, Duke needs to get this start. Especially if PV is only going to use one sub again, which for the record, is only a trend in the last two games.
So I went back and looked at #SportingKC's subbing before the last 2 games. Over the first 18 games, KC used 53 of a possible 90 substitutions with an average sub of the 67th minute. KC used 5 subs twice, 4 subs 3 times, 3 subs 7 times, 2 subs 4 times, 1 sub twice.— Mike (@downthebyline) August 19, 2021
Shelton Probably gets a Start
It’s up for debate where he starts, but he looked fit and strong in his limited minutes. He is nominally the backup at all three forward spots. I’d lean towards playing him at right wing above all other positions and let Russell sub on in the second half as I doubt Khiry has 90 minute in him after missing time due that awful collision against LAFC.
What about Grayson Barber or Wilson Harris?
I asked this question midweek, and I believe these guys should be getting more minutes. I’m more apt to play them when SKC were up 2-0 on FC Dallas and I get that while chasing the game against Portland, Vermes was always less likely to bring them on. That said, there has been no rotation at the forward spots so it has to be a consideration that they at least come on for some substitute minutes. It feels like such a missed opportunity against Dallas. I doubt they start, though I wouldn’t entirely rule out 45 minutes for Harris at striker before a planned Pulido sub at the half.
It’s Time for Dia
Not permanently. I don’t think he’s shown superbly in his limited chances or on his USL loans, but I think Luis Martins has played a ton and needs a rest. His crossing leg has to be tired.
Number of crosses:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) August 19, 2021
I'd obviously like to see less of that from Kansas City's fullbacks. #SportingKC #SKCvPOR
I’ve heard some ask if Dia can play right back for Graham Zusi, who has also played a ton. I doubt we see him on the right, but it’s not impossible by any means. In recent years, Lindsey played out of position on the left as needed. Don’t rule out new Homegrown signing Jake Davis at RB. He’s a midfielder by trade, but he’s played RB a few times for SKC II in 2021.
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Harris, Rad, Davis, Martins, Barber, Pierre, Espinoza, Russell
I’ll keep saying it... you have to play the ‘kids’ if they are all that’s on the bench or you have to sign guys you will play. Can’t run the veterans into the ground!
Jose Mauri should be arriving soon to give another veteran but I think there are some minutes to go around for some of these Homegrowns.
There are definitely some votes for rotation. Dia just misses the starting lineup but had over 50 percent of the vote which implies some RB votes for him too. You all agree with me in the midfield and forward lines.
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 (94.6%)
Defenders: Fontas (90.5%), Ilie (77.0%), Zusi (70.3%), Martins (52.7%), Dia (51.4%), Rad/Puncec (12.2%), Smith (5.4%)
Midfielders: Kinda (91.9%), Walter (86.5%), Duke (74.3%), Espinoza (29.7%), Ilie (14.9%)
Wingers: Salloi (90.5%), Shelton (58.1%), Russell (32.4%), Barber (13.5%)
Strikers: Pulido (81.1%), Harris (10.8%), Shelton (6.8%)
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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