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Sporting KC Injury Update and Starting XI Predictions Versus Minnesota

An unfortunate new addition to the injury report. Plus an update on the international signings and one injury upgrade (but not removal) from the report.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City are on the road for their second of three straight road games as they travel north to Southern Canada Minnesota. They face off against Minnesota United for MLS rivalry week. But first, catch the preview to learn all about Minnesota’s recent form, injuries, stats and roster changes, as well as how they matchup with SKC historically.

MATCH PREVIEW: Sporting KC vs Minnesota United


  • How to Watch
  • Stats
  • Injury Updates for Montreal
  • and Predictions

Injury/Availability Updates

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Ozzie Cisneros (hamstring), Erik Thommy (immigration pending), William Agada (immigration pending), Roger Espinoza (yellow card accumulation)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (quad), Kortne Ford (concussion), Tim Melia (shoulder)

Tim Melia is the glaring, new addition to the report. The team has also started to list Erik Thommy and William Agada, which shows they are still not with the team and presumably won’t be before this weekend’s game either.

Starting XI Predictions

Sporting KC got a win against CF Montreal on the road, but it was anything but convincing and definitely not repeatable as my colleague Dan pointed out. I won’t rehash Dan’s points, or mine last week in great detail, but let’s hit the high points.

The Forwards

Khiry Shelton finally got his first MLS point (to use hockey terminology) by earning an assist against CF Montreal. Ironically, much as his assist from the wing against Union Omaha in the US Open Cup, that’s where it came from against Montreal. No, he technically wasn’t playing RW, but the play came from out there.

If PV refuses to not start Khiry, then Shelton should head to RW. I’m fine with Russell at center forward. With this game being the second of three in nine days, I wouldn’t mind seeing some forward rotation either. Marinos Tzionis has played just nine minutes in the last four league games. If you include the Open Cup game, that only climbs to 37 minutes. He doesn’t need to play all 90, but someone needs a rest. It’s not like this front three is lighting the world on fire anyways.

Shelton actually historically plays well against Minnesota, so I’m fine if it’s not him. But don’t run these guys into the ground Peter!

What About the New Signings...

As you saw on the official availability report above, William Agada and Erik Thommy are still unavailable. Here is what Peter Vermes said ahead of the Montreal game:

“I wish I could tell you more,” started Vermes. “It’s in this... space in immigration where it just sits there. There is no way to figure out what’s actually going on and why it’s taking so long. Everything’s been done. All the paperwork has been filled out... It’s a conundrum and it’s incredibly frustrating.”

Until the P1 Visa is approved and the players have their passports returned, they can’t travel. Agada and Thommy won’t play Wednesday and I’d guess they are unlikely for the weekend either, as even if their paperwork came through and they travelled, they wouldn’t have much time to integrate into the team. The Blue Testament will keep you updated.

What about Melia?

If Tim Melia can’t go because of this shoulder injury he picked up, John Pulskamp is the man. With him re-signing a long-term deal and the poise he’s shown at such a young age, it’s likely KC will take every chance they can to keep pushing him towards his future roll as the long-term starter.

The Other Spots

  • Kayden Pierre was fantastic over the weekend. I tweeted it out, but I think his minutes should be flipped with Zusi even when Graham is back. The season is likely lost and Pierre looked good. He should be the starter with Zusi spelling him.
  • While Dan thought Ben Sweat was decent, I thought he looked bad against Montreal. He had a few poor turnovers and he was quick to get forward but slow to get back (it feels like it should be the reverse). Maybe I’m just being harsh as I haven’t been a fan all year, but he should keep being the backup in my opinion. Bring back Logan Ndenbe!
  • I don’t imagine we’ll see Kortne Ford if he’s still questionable. No reason to rush a head injury. But when he’s healthy, both CBs had their shaky moments in Canada. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was the worst of the two for my money.

Rest of the 20: McIntosh, Salloi, Sweat, Voloder, K. Rad, Rosell, Davis, [2 empty]

The Espinoza suspension, and simply the need for rotation, likely pushes Cam Duke back into the starting lineup with Felipe Hernandez who’d I’d say is a lock to start. I chose to sit Salloi for Tzionis and put Rosell back to the bench, but I thought Uri was the best version of himself against Montreal so if he starts, that’s fine. Then that’d allow Duke to be a jolt from the bench versus a very defensive bench right now outside of Daniel Salloi.

My biggest concern with my lineup is the youth and inexperience on the left side.

Fan XI

The young fullbacks are getting nearly all the votes. I love it. The midfield is nearly a clean sweep and you all seem to be leaning towards either Russell being the winger that rests, or moving him to CF, but overall the “regular” forwards still have it.

Here is the tally of your fan vote. Starters in italics and anyone over five percent is referenced here.

Goalkeepers: Melia (88.1%), Pulskamp (11.9%)

Defenders: Ndenbe (97.6%), Pierre (92.9%), Isimat-Mirin (69.0%), Fontas (61.9%), Ford (33.3%), Voloder (28.6%), Zusi (9.5%)

Midfielders: Hernandez (100%), Walter (97.6%), (Duke (95.2%)

Wingers: Salloi (78.6%), Russell (69.0%), Tzionis (23.8%), Shelton (21.4%)

Strikers: Shelton (54.8%), Russell (21.4%), Tzionis/Salloi (14.3%)

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