OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - Alan Pulido (knee)
#MNUFC Injury/Availability Report:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) September 14, 2021
OUT Suspended: Alonso, Gasper
OUT Injured: Juan Agudelo, Hassani Dotson, Niko Hansen, Justin McMaster
QUESTIONABLE: Robin Lod
Emanuel Reynoso is off the injury report for Minnesota United. #SKCvMIN https://t.co/d5ejUVNERk
The big news is the addition of Alan Pulido to the injury report. In the post-game, Peter called it a knock, so it doesn’t come out of nowhere. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
And while this isn’t a Minnesota United update, I had to include all their absences too. They do, however, get Emanuel Reynoso back, who was out for the last game. You’ll recall he destroyed Sporting KC in the playoffs last season.
Starting XI Predictions
Let’s get to the biggest question.
How Hurt is Alan Pulido?
He definitely threw his shin guards down in disgust as he was down for the last time before being substituted out. He hobbled off the field and then was limping around after the game. Possibly because he had a big ice pack strapped to his knee.
I could see Peter taking the approach of being cautious with Alan. Not starting him knowing the team doesn’t play again for 10 days after Wednesday. Then if he’s okay, he can come on as a substitute (nay, finisher!) if needed. Hopefully he won’t be needed and can just not push it. I’d really love to see Wilson Harris get a start with Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi next to him, but I think we all know if it’s not Pulido, it’ll be Khiry Shelton.
For me, we know what the team has in Shelton. Get Harris out there with the best players around him when it’s not garbage time or a lineup loaded with fellow rookies to see if he can start banging in goals like he did in the USL.
What is the Ideal Starting Midfield?
With no players suspended for the first time in a while and a clean bill of health in the midfield (outside of Hernandez’s absence for personal reasons), everyone is available for selection. I think it’s pretty clear that Gadi Kinda is an every game starter if healthy (though he did just fly halfway around the world and play 90 minutes on Saturday). Roger Espinoza, on full rest, seems to clearly be the guy next to him most of the time. But who plays the 6?
I’ve liked Remi Walter back there in recent weeks (though he had his best game as an 8 in my opinion against the Chicago Fire). The last two games, Jose Mauri has started at the 6, but somewhat out of necessity due to suspensions and absences. PV said he sees Mauri as a 6 who can play the eight and Walter as an 8 who can play the 6. That said, with Mauri still learning the system, I lean towards Walter.
Asked PV why he’s gone with Mauri as the 6 instead of Walter, given how good Walter has been at the 6 this year. His response was just that Mauri isn’t fit enough yet.— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) September 12, 2021
Added he views Mauri more as a 6 that can play the 8, and Walter as an 8 that can play the 6. #SportingKC
Whatever the case is, the midfield is the portion of the team most in need of fresh legs since they are asked to cover so much ground, so let’s hope we see a lot more substitutions made! Whoever starts, give them a rest and get Cam Duke and others into the game to provide some energy.
I left Ilie out of this conversations because it’s clear he’s either starting at CB or third in line in my opinion.
Does Isimat-Mirin Return?
Isi has been off the injury report but hasn’t gotten into a game since being upgraded in recent weeks. There is an element of “if it ain’t broke” going on, but the defense has looked porous at times. Rest Ilie Sanchez and give Isi the start. He probably doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs, so let Ilie sub on for him and hopefully at that point SKC can possess the ball until the game ends (since maybe they’ll actually take a lead again). Peter may just go one more game or let Isi be the one who subs on, but the stretch run defense, includes Isimat-Mirin.
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Harris, Pulido, Duke, Dia, Barber, Mauri, Rad, Ilie
What a bench. If all these guys are really available, it’s simply inexcusable to not make more subs. The team is missing just two players (maybe three if Pulido is out). You could basically swap the whole midfield out if you brought Jake Davis or Ozzie Cisneros (or played Ilie at d-mid), but I don’t anticipate that. I’ll be happy if whatever two midfielders don’t start of Duke, Mauri, Espinoza, Kinda and Walters get into the game.
SKC II have a huge break so their needs should have no impact on this game.
Did Brooks Thompson’s family find The Blue Testament? 8.5 percent of the vote?! Actually, there were some voting shenanigans. And it was a short week, so less people had a chance to vote. Whatever, have fun with it you all.
Because of the short week the percentages are all over the place, but despite that we have the same lineup outside of the news that Pulido was questionable which might have further altered your voting.
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 (93.6%), Thompson (8.5%)
Defenders: Fontas/Martins/Zusi (85.1%), Isimat-Mirin (66.0%), Ilie (38.3%), Dia (14.9%), Puncec (12.8%), Pierre/Smith (6.4%)
Midfielders: Kinda (83.0%), Espinoza (66.0%), Walter (59.6%), Mauri (42.6%), Ilie (27.7%), Duke (17.0%), Cisneros (10.6%)
Wingers: Russell (91.5%), Salloi (87.2%), Shelton (10.6%), Kinda (8.5%), Pulido/Barber (6.4%)
Strikers: Pulido (70.2%), Shelton (23.4%), Harris (8.5%), Russell (6.4%)
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