After a short week of rest, Sporting Kansas City are back in action and once again on the road as they head to Commerce City, CO to take on the Colorado Rapids. Don’t forget for more details on the game and opponent, to check out our preview.
MATCH PREVIEW: Sporting KC vs the Colorado Rapids
OUT - Kortne Ford (Achilles surgery), Gadi Kinda (knee surgery), Logan Ndenbe (hamstring), Johnny Russell (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - Alan Pulido (knee surgery)*, Khiry Shelton (adductor)
#SportingKC Injury Report:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) March 3, 2023
Questionable: Pulido (knee), Shelton (adductor)
Out: Russell (hamstring), Ndenbe (hamstring), Ford (Achilles), Kinda (knee)#COLvSKC #Rapids96
Shelton is the only new addition to the report. Everything else remains unchanged.
*Pulido is officially listed as questionable, but it definitely sounds like he’s out according to Peter Vermes himself.
And just because, here is Colorado’s report:
#Rapids96 Injury Report:— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) March 3, 2023
OUT: Rubio (knee), Toure (knee), Bombito (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Lewis (ankle), Price (back)#COLvSKC #SportingKC
Starting XI Predictions
Last week, we tackled every single position on the pitch. Since some are waaaay less in question than others, let’s just stick to the ones with some question marks around them.
I’ll keep this one brief; I think it’s still Pulskamp’s job. He played well in the opener and after the game Peter Vermes was saying Melia didn’t have the reps yet to take the job. John did nothing to lose it. He let one in, but he was put in a bad spot, and he saved several that should have probably been easier goals.
Ben Sweat had an opener to forget. He gave up the ball and then kept onside the player that led to the only goal against the Portland Timbers. He may still start with Ndenbe’s health being in question and Tim Leibold not being up to full fitness. He was one of two predictions I got wrong in week one.
When Leibold subbed on for him, he didn’t get much done but Erik Thommy left at the same time, and he was paired with an out of position Marinos Tzionis. If Leibold even has 60 minutes in him, I’d like to see him go with the starters and Sweat replace him if needed. The altitude in Colorado can do a number on your lungs though, so we’ll see. It’s probably still Ben Sweat for now.
I list this position not because of anything Remi Walter did wrong. In fact, I had him as my man of the match. But I really want to see what this team can do with Radoja filling in at the 6 and allowing Walter to move to his primary location.
I have no idea if he’s fit enough as he and Tim Melia were healthy scratches Monday because of fitness. I hope Radoja can go, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him saved for the home opener against the LA Galaxy.
The Other #8
Erik Thommy is a starter. If Radoja is back, the other guy is Remi Walter. If Radoja is not back, Remi will play the 6 again, no question. Then the question is, does Roger Espinoza start again? I thought he was fine if unspectacular in Portland. He was defensively sound, but pairing him with Khiry Shelton on the right was not a potent combination.
I think I’d rather see Felipe Hernandez get the start and Roger sub on for him. However, I’d expect the opposite, unless the short week has done a number on Roger’s legs. If they are behind, I’d like to see them turn to Hernandez quicker at least if Roger is going to start.
It’s funny how the only change from the lineup at the end of 2022 was Shelton and the team suddenly couldn’t generate goals. I don’t know if that’s credit to Portland or that much of a knock of Khiry. Colorado’s fullbacks, particularly their left back, played terrible against the Seattle Sounders. Khiry has the speed to get in behind and cause troubles, but he didn’t do it against Portland. I’d rather see Marinos Tzionis start here and dribble at defenders in space (instead of in the middle of the field where that didn’t work).
That plus Shelton showing up on the injury report will hopefully mean a Tzionis start. I guess the question at that point is which right-footed winger do you put out wide right? Daniel Salloi and Marinos Tzionis are both at their best on the left cutting in on their dominant foot. I won’t over think it as I imagine no matter who starts where, there will be a healthy amount of flipping back and forth.
Rest of the 20: McIntosh, Shelton, Leibold, Hernandez, Radoja, Rindov, Duke, Pierre, Castellanos
Week two of voting of course brings new insight after we saw the first injury report and Peter put out his first official lineup. Pulskamp surged ahead in the keeper voting. You all held on to Leibold still being the starter (I agree eventually, I’m just not sure yet, though I’d prefer it). No other changes in defense but Castellanos climbed a bit. If it wasn’t Voloder (which I think it will be), I’m guessing we are much more likely to see Rindov until new signing Dany Rosero arrives.
You all agreed Radoja may not be ready this week and bumped Hernandez to a starter. I’m frankly sort of surprised that player like Fontas, Walter, Agada, Salloi and Thommy aren’t at 100%. Someone just has to dissent, which is fine.
Here is the tally of your fan vote. Starters in italics with guys at five or so percent showing up with their tallies.
Goalkeepers: Pulskamp (93.7%), Melia (4.5%), McIntosh (2.7%)
Defenders: Fontas (95.5%), Voloder (88.3%), Zusi (71.2%), Leibold (67.6%), Sweat (29.7%), Pierre (27.0%), Castellanos (9.9%), Ndenbe (5.4%), Rindov (2.7%)
Midfielders: Thommy (95.5%), Walter (94.6%), Hernandez (40.5%), Espinoza (27.9%), Radoja (26.1%), Flores (4.5%)
Wingers: Salloi (94.6%), Tzionis (41.4%), Shelton (29.7%), Russell (27.0%), Duke (4.5%)
Strikers: Agada (94.6%), Pulido (3.6%)
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