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Sporting KC Injury Update and Starting XI Predictions Versus RSL

Lots of news around injuries, suspensions and immigration progress.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City wrap up their three-game road trip with a trip to Sandy, Utah to take on rival Real Salt Lake.

MATCH PREVIEW: Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake


  • How to Watch
  • Stats
  • Injury Updates for Real Salt Lake
  • and Predictions

Injury/Availability Updates

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Ozzie Cisneros (hamstring), Andreu Fontas (yellow card accumulation), Kortne Ford (suspension)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (quad), Tim Melia (shoulder), Erik Thommy (immigration pending), William Agada (immigration pending)

Not much movement here. The obvious change is Ford is now suspended instead of dealing with a concussion. His PED suspension, according to Ford, is from a metabolite left in his system from a weight loss supplement he took between signing with SKC after leaving the Colorado Rapids. Either way, he’s suspended until September 13th’s game against D.C. United. It’s a big blow.

Starting XI Predictions

It’s the third game in nine days, but it’s not rotation that’s on my mind with a well rotated squad through the first two games.

Daniel Salloi is the CF Now, Right?!

How good did this team look with Salloi, playing out of position, at center forward? Pretty good for my money. And that was with Cam Duke next to him (also out of position) instead of Johnny Russell for most of the game.

Khiry Shelton should be a sub. He’s a fine backup. I’m not convinced he should be starting. Marinos Tzionis showed he could handle himself at left wing and he rotated well with Salloi throughout the game. Plus he seemed to put in a good defensive effort, which is what Vermes seemed to be implying he needed to do.

Who Plays CB?

With Fontas out with a yellow card accumulation suspension and Ford suspended, there are only three center backs on the roster available: Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Robert Voloder and Kaveh Rad. No offense to Rad, but he has zero minutes this year with the first team. It’ll be Isi and Voloder. Robbie is the most like-for-like replacement for Fontas on the roster and, even though he’s had his ups and downs, the team needs to see if he’s starting caliber for 2023 since he’s occupying a U-22 spot. I’d say he’s at worst the 3rd CB next year and could start. It’s time to work out the kinks.

Immigration Update

William Agada is on his way to Kansas City, but it probably won’t be enough since he’ll have no time to practice before Sunday.

If you are wondering what is taking so long on the arrivals of Thommy and Agada, you aren’t alone. Peter Vermes expressed frustration when talking with the media on Friday when seeing players like Gareth Bale and Cucho Hernandez already with their teams and his guys still trying to get into the country.

Long story short, I wouldn’t expect to see either Thommy or Agada this weekend.

The Other Spots

  • More youthful fullbacks! Nothing about Logan Ndenbe and Kayden Pierre’s play against Minnesota United left me wanting them off the field.
  • Speaking of youth, John Pulskamp showed he’s worth some more starts. Tim Melia was listed as a gameday decision Wednesday but he remains questionable, so who knows what’s going on, but no need to push with it Pulskamp playing like he did.
  • The midfield is up for some debate. Espinoza is back fresh after his suspension and could start next to Felipe Hernandez with Remi Walter behind them. Vermes still seems to be putting in Uri Rosell on the regular. Then again, Cam Duke has played well too and it’s hard to justify playing Rosell over some combination of the other four. Hernandez and Duke should be well rested having not played much against CF Montreal.

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

Maybe they sit William Agada on the bench since he’ll have arrived just to get to be part of the experience. But I can’t see him getting in the game. The only problem with this lineup is there is no umph off the bench. Shelton can add pace and Espinoza can add bite, but maybe they leave someone like Duke on the bench for an offensive injection in case it’s needed.

Fan XI

We inadvertently left Uri Rosell out of the poll... but no one wrote him in, so I guess no one really wanted him. Our votes lined up perfectly. Apparently PV playing Salloi at CF convinced us all it could happen again. Fingers crossed.

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

Goalkeepers: Pulskamp (65.4%), Melia (34.6%)

Defenders: Ndenbe/Pierre/Isimat-Mirin (96.2%), Voloder (65.4%), Ford (30.8%)

Midfielders: Walter (92.3%), Hernandez (80.8%), Duke (73.1%), Espinoza (53.8%)

Wingers: Russell (88.5%), Tzionis (73.1%), Salloi (26.9%), Shelton (11.5%)

Strikers: Salloi (65.4%), Russell/Tzionis/Shelton (11.5%)

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