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Sporting KC Injury Update and Starting XI Predictions Versus FC Dallas

Five names now listed going into Wednesday’s road match. Plus two others are coming off injuries and definitely not fully fit.

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City will be looking to bounce back after a tough home loss as they head to Frisco, TX to take on FC Dallas.

Injury/Availability Updates

OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Graham Zusi (yellow card accumulation), John Pulskamp (facial injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Alan Pulido (knee)

Two names are added to the report after Graham Zusi picked up a late yellow against the Seattle Sounders which caused him to pick up a suspension. Ironically, if he’d have gone a few more minutes, he’d have picked up a good behavior bonus and a yellow card would fallen off giving him two cards to spare for the rest of the season.

Roger Espinoza and Daniel Salloi are one yellow away from suspensions of their own. Both of them just need one more game for good behavior. I’d bring Roger on late and hope he can avoid picking up a card in a limited number of minutes. Daniel will start I’m sure but it’s something he should be conscience of.

Pulskamp is the other addition to the report after suffering a brutal collision against FC Tulsa while on loan with SKC II last week (watch that collision over here). He did play out the rest of that game though.

Starting XI Predictions

Let’s change the question up this week.

Who Replaces Graham Zusi?

The backup right back is Jaylin Lindsey and he’s still out, though he self-reported he’s getting closer to returning. There is another right back on the roster in rookie Homegrown Kayden Pierre. Early in the season, he was struggling with SKC II, which is to be expected for an 18-year-old. However, of late, he’s really stepped up his game in the USL Championship and I’d be completely fine with him starting. He’s earned it.

There are other options though. Left back Amadou Dia could shift to the right. He only has 93 minutes in MLS this year and hasn’t been blowing the doors off the USL in his loan stints to the second team. Another option is Cam Duke. He has played right back in his past, including in practice against the first team. This may be the most likely option as he’s got the most experience of anyone listed here. A final option is new signing Jake Davis. He filled in for Pierre at RB at times in USL, though he’s a true midfielder in the mold of Roger Espinoza.

Speaking of Roger, he should rest, but let’s not rule out some random veteran sliding back into this role. Remember Yohan Croizet at fullback? Didn’t Graham Zusi start as an experiment? Anything is possible for a single game. Honestly though, I’m not sure there are any veterans that aren’t needed elsewhere. I’d play Pierre, but he’s very inexperienced.

Will Pulido or Isi Return?

I think it’s a pretty safe bet Pulido won’t be a starter. Even on short rest, the team is better off starting Wilson Harris or even Khiry Shelton than risking messing up the grand plan to have Pulido for the playoff run. I won’t rule out a sub appearance though. I’ll defy logic and say Harris should start, even though I think we all know it’ll probably be Shelton. Give the kid a chance to start with mostly starters around him. I believe! I’d save Shelton to sub on for Daniel Salloi or Johnny Russell to give them a break on two days rest. Honestly, Johnny looked exhausted, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the winger who rests.

As for Isi, he’s still probably not 90 minutes fit. But I could absolutely see him starting and getting subbed off at a pre-planned time (Vermes loves a pre-planned sub).

To Rotate or Not to Rotate?

With two days rest and a road game (with another game this weekend), the midweek is the time to rotate. Vermes usually saves his rotation for the weekend, but something has to give. I’d rest Roger Espinoza and Jose Mauri and start Remi Walter and Cam Duke. I could see Walter not getting the start and Mauri going again, but Duke definitely needs a start.

Outside of these changes, I don’t expect any others. I also don’t expect this will be accurate.

Rest of the 20: McIntosh, Shelton, Pulido, Espinoza, Dia, Barber, Davis, Rad, Ilie

If this really is the bench, it’s not a bad punch if PV is willing to sub (ohhh the jokes). Pulido and Shelton for a burst of offense. Plus Ilie can sub on for Isi to save his legs and I’d love to see Jake Davis come off the bench and get a few minutes to boss the midfield with his physical play.

Fan XI

Voting is way down. Is it because I stopped duplicate votes? Was this more of a problem than I possibly knew? Or is it just you had about 24-hours to vote with the quick turnaround? I’m hoping for the latter.

As for the votes that were cast, you aren’t into my wild predictions. You have Dia over Pierre, Pulido over Harris (me too if he’s healthy enough) and Walter over Duke. That midfield feels real possible, but I’m high on Cam Duke. Give me your 11 in the comments because Ilie has more midfield votes than defense votes, so I’d love to know what you all see all over the pitch.

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 (96.0%)

Defenders: Fontas (88.0%), Martins/Isimat-Mirin (84.0%), Dia (44.0%), Pierre/Sanchez (28.0%)

Midfielders: Kinda (72.0%), Walter (68.0%), Mauri (60.0%), Espinoza (36.0%), Duke/Ilie (32.0%)

Wingers: Salloi (92.0%), Russell (88.0%)

Strikers: Pulido (68.0%), Shelton (20.0%), Harris (8.0%)

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