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Sporting KC Injury Update and Starting XI Predictions Versus Vancouver

One new suspension, two new injuries. This is just Kansas City’s “normal” in 2022.

SOCCER: MAY 22 MLS - Sporting Kansas City at San Jose Earthquakes Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City just can’t catch a break. They’ll head into the Vancouver Whitecaps game down as many men as they’ve been at any point in the season, particularly if the questionable people can’t go. The only forward on the roster not listed on the report is... wait they are all on the report. That is just wild.

Injury/Availability Updates

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Ozzie Cisneros (hamstring), Daniel Salloi (Disciplinary Committee punishment)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (leg strain), Johnny Russell (knee), Khiry Shelton (hamstring), Nikola Vujnovic (calf), Logan Ndenbe (shoulder), Marinos Tzionis (knee)

Unsurprisingly Logan Ndenbe has been added to the report after subbing off on Wednesday after a challenge that was pretty nasty, yet resulted in no foul or card given to Griffin Dorsey, the Dynamo player (he picked up a yellow minutes later, which should have been a second yellow).

The somewhat surprising news is that Daniel Salloi is suspended, though looking back on his challenge, it shouldn’t be a surprise. He kicks out the plant leg of the Colorado Rapids player who was restarting a dead ball. Just silly stuff.

The final new addition is Marinos Tzionis, who wasn’t on the injury report for Wednesday, but Peter Vermes today said he was hurt in the San Jose Earthquakes game. He should be required to be on the midweek report, so I’m guessing the initial injury came during the SJ game, but he was likely to play Wednesday before having some sort of setback. Entirely a guess, but otherwise that would imply dishonesty in the Open Cup injury report. MLS is clearly more lax with their reports than say the NFL, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

“He picked it up in the game against San Jose.” said Vermes. “He’s still questionable, there is a chance he might be available for tomorrow, but they are going to make that decision tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon-ish.”

Starting XI Predictions

The game of musical chairs continues.

Literally No Available Forwards

Between the Daniel Salloi suspension, the surprise announcement of the Tzionis injury and the continued listing of Russell, Shelton, Vujnovic, Cisneros and of course Pulido, there are literally no forwards not somewhere on this report.

That said, Russell appears to be indestructible and I imagine will gut through one more game until the break (and honestly he looks better and better despite all the minutes). Cam Duke is healthy and can go to the wing again. Then I imagine it’ll be Tzionis if he is available, or even Shelton will probably play and push Russell out wide.

Even if no one is available besides Duke and Russell, some midfielder or fullback (or less likely, even maybe an SKC II loan) would play over SKC playing out of formation after the last time they did that went so poorly.

What Fullbacks are Available?

If Duke is pushed to forward, which seems like a good possibility, and Ndenbe is unavailable (which is unclear), then only Ben Sweat and Kayden Pierre are left. I’m fine with that, though would prefer Ndenbe. Sweat is capable of limiting his mistakes and the excitement of Pierre (and Kortne Ford covering for him), leaves lots of room for him to be exciting at right back.

Is there a CB battle?

With Nicolas Isimat-Mirin back from injury and no center backs on a red card suspensions for the first time in a bit, who plays going forward? I imagine Isi needs time to work back to full fitness, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see he and Kortne Ford paired together. They were paired together for like five minutes before Isi got injured.

I’d personally like to see Robert Voloder keep getting minutes as he’s being paid a healthy salary, had a transfer fee (so he’s tying up a U-22 spot), is young and is on a long-term deal. Isi and Fontas could be gone after this season, so building towards the future is important and valuable. Long-term I think it’s Voloder, but Saturday is a toss-up for me.

What’s interesting is Ford feels like a locked in starter, it’s just a matter of who is paired with him, and he makes the least of the four. But he has high goals for 2022.

I think elsewhere, Hernandez has earned another start, Remi is a locked in starter, Uri is still the only d-mid on the roster and hopefully will get better with more minutes, because it seems he’s going to keep getting more chances.

Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Shelton, Espinoza, Davis, Fontas, Isimat-Mirin, K. Rad, [2 empty]

Not much offense on that bench...

Fan XI

No fan vote again this week. Too many games, too little time. Below are last week’s results.

Goalkeepers: Melia (89.8%), Pulskamp (10.2%)

Defenders: Ford (94.9%), Ndenbe (93.2%), Voloder (89.8%), Pierre (39.0%), Sweat (33.9%), Duke (22.0%), Zusi (11.9%)

Midfielders: Walter (94.9%), Hernandez (71.2%), Rosell (62.7%), Espinoza (54.2%), Duke (15.3%), Tzionis (6.8%)

Wingers: Russell (88.1%), Tzionis (78.0%), Duke (22.0%), Shelton/Vazquez (5.1%)

Strikers: Shelton (49.2%), Vujnovic (33.9%), Tzionis (16.9%)

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