Connect with us

Sporting KC

Sporting KC Injury Updates & Lineup Predictions v New England

The Sporting KC injury report is consistently awful. There is good news, but two new names are added to the report unexpectedly.



Graham Zusi, presumably sad about being injured. | Credit: Seven One Mag

Sporting Kansas City are back on the road against the New England Revolution on Saturday night. Of course, there are new injuries to deal with. Before we get to that, if you want to know some stats, the Revs form, their offseason moves and more, head to our preview of the game.

Sporting KC v New England Revolution: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

Sporting KC Injury/Availability Updates

OUT – Kortne Ford (Achilles surgery), Kayden Pierre (hamstring), Tim Leibold (hamstring), Robert Castellanos (red card)

QUESTIONABLE – Gadi Kinda (knee surgery), Graham Zusi (muscle strain), Willy Agada (leg), Nemanja Radoja (hamstring)

The injury report is good news mixed with bad news, like it is basically every week. The good news is Logan Ndenbe is fully off the report, which is great. Also, Nemanja Radoja got an upgrade to questionable, which was alluded to earlier in the week by Peter Vermes.

The bad news is the team now has no healthy right backs after having no healthy left backs for weeks. Graham Zusi popped up with a “muscle strain” which my wife and others have joked was from throwing out the first pitch at the Kansas City Royals game this week. Also added to the report is Willy Agada, which messes with my initial plan of having Pulido play Erik Thommy’s spot and Agada play up top.

I usually don’t have the New England Revolution injury report early in the week, but Seth over at the Blazing Mustket has you covered.

Update 12:08 PM CST: No sooner do we publish one story, than things change! More bad news, as Agada will apparently require surgery. The rest of this story is unchanged, but here is what we know on that front.

Agada to have Surgery and Dom Dwyer is on Trial

Want injury information earlier than even we can get it to you? Backheeled Insights gives MLS fans and bettors detailed analysis for every single game, powered by the Insights propriety model. Plus, you’ll get a full description of every team, including depth charts, scouting reports, stats, and absences. Get 10% off an annual Insights subscription today and support the Kansas City Soccer Journal in the process.

Click here to sign up and support the KC Soccer Journal.

The KC Soccer Journal makes a commission off the above ad, but it in no way impacts our editorial content.

Starting XI Predictions

A whole mess of changes potentially have to come this week based on the injuries, so let’s start with a guaranteed change.

Robert Castellanos is Suspended

When I knew Ndenbe was getting closer to returning, I thought there might be multiple options here. And potentially there still are. The most obvious answer is Andreu Fontas returns to the starting lineup. He was benched after the debacle against the Seattle Sounders. He subbed on to fill Castellanos’ spot after he was sent off against the San Jose Earthquakes, but there are other options.

Robert Voloder is a young talent who is presumably the future at LCB. If Ndenbe is good, start Voloder here and play Logan Ndenbe at left back. I doubt Ndenbe has 90 minutes in his legs, so you can always bring Fontas on and slide Voloder out to LB as needed. I know Vermes doesn’t like to make backline changes midgame though, so I’m thinking he won’t like this. Then again, Ndenbe definitely at least deserves to sub into the game to get some minutes if he’s not starting, so I’m sticking with my original plan to start Logan.

If Zusi Can’t Play…

You’d have to think Cam Duke is next up at right back. Kayden Pierre is missing a golden opportunity to claim the job as he deals with a hamstring injury, so my guess is Duke would start here if needed. Something has to give this week with a midweek game against the Tulsa Athletic in the US Open Cup, so perhaps PV pushes Zusi through another game.

Another option at right back is Jake Davis. He subbed on for Zusi in that aforementioned Seattle game. He also subbed on in the SKC II game the other day in the dying minutes at RB. He’s definitely a midfielder by trade, but so is Duke.

A third option might be to leave Fontas and Voloder on the left and play Ndenbe out of position on the right.

Squad Rotation or SKC II Loans?

I’m not sure I’d expect much rotation with the US Open Cup coming in the middle of the week. Vermes will almost surely prioritize the league game as it’s beyond dire that they win a game at this point. I’m sure he thinks his backups can beat an amateur team (and they should be able to). I imagine we’ll see some Sporting KC II players midweek.

There is an argument there could be some SKC II loans in this game. The team can make “affiliate short-term agreements” which could help with lots of these issues. Literally everyone on the roster Sporting KC II roster should qualify under the rule to come up (barring any high salaries we don’t know about). Here are some options:

  • Lucas Rosa scored the MLS Next Pro goal of the week from his right back spot. He’s looked very good against the lower-level competition.
  • At left back it’s mostly been Cam Duke for the II’s. Nati Clarke played there a bit but struggled. Also, he’s an SKC Academy player, I believe on a loan to the II’s, so he’s not actually rostered for a call up. Coby Jones is rostered, but we haven’t seen him all year.
  • There is no other position dire enough, but midweek that’ll be a different story.

If this were to happen, expect an announcement late Friday or even Saturday. Though you can scour social media for someone you don’t recognize (the team is probably smarter than that to show them, but players might slip up).

Back to Pulskamp in Goal?

I’ll ask this question again. I think Pulskamp should start (as Sheena and I discussed on the podcast). Part of the argument being made for Melia was he had all these new defenders in front of him, Castellanos the biggest one, who needed his leadership to keep them organized. Casti is out and I think Pulskamp shows good command of his team. Plus, Pulskamp was benched after a debacle against Seattle, shouldn’t Melia have the same fate after the beat down San Jose handed them?

If it’s not Pulskamp, I think Kendall McIntosh should get a run. He started once last year and played great.

Rest of the Lineup

  • I do think Thommy would benefit from coming off the bench, but with Duke possibly needed at RB and Pulido needed at CF with Agada’s injury, I’m not sure I want a midfield of Roger Espinoza and Felipe Hernandez.
  • Speaking of them, I see no reason Hernandez shouldn’t keep starting over Roger.
  • In the attack, I’d guess it’s unchanged despite the lack of results, but Marinos Tzionis has to be lurking and a likely candidate to start against Tulsa.
  • I don’t think PV risks Radoja quite yet, so Remi can play deep in the midfield for another game.
  • I’ve almost talked every position. Rosero should keep starting. Done!
  • When you look at it, the lineup looks crazy. Why can’t this team just be healthy? Then again, nothing has worked, so everything should be on the table.

Rest of the 20: Melia, Espinoza, Zusi, Shelton, Fontas, Davis, Duke, Tzionis, Agada

Fan XI

The voting has remained pretty steady despite this disaster of a season. You all were disadvantaged not having all the updates. A few notes:

  • Pulskamp also took your lead, but McIntosh made a big jump too.
  • The defenders all plummeted in voting, even Rosero who I think is a surefire starter. Knowing what you know now, how would your backline change? Tell me in the comments.
  • Frankly, votes fell for everyone. We’re all frustrated, I get it. Something has to change.
  • Even Shelton got more votes to start at winger. Y’all are desperate!

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 (42.2%), Melia (37.5%), McIntosh (21.9%)

Defenders: Voloder (69.5%), Rosero (67.2%), Zusi (52.3%), Fontas (43.0%), Duke (42.2%), Pierre (34.4%), Leibold (32.0%), Rindov (31.3%), Davis (24.2%)

Midfielders: Walter (68.0%), Thommy (61.7%), Hernandez (48.4%), Radoja (46.1%), Espinoza (28.1%), Flores (15.6%), Cisneros (10.9%), Duke (9.4%), Pulido (7.0%), Davis (3.1%)

Wingers: Russell (71.9%), Salloi (53.9%), Tzionis (42.2%), Shelton (13.3%), Pulido (6.3%), Cisneros (5.5%), Agada (4.7%)

Strikers: Pulido (67.2%), Agada (32.0%)

What is your preferred lineup? Let us know in the comments below. You can also add pictures in the comments too, so maybe go to and throw together a graphic if you are feeling saucy.

Recent Comments

KC Soccer Journal in your Inbox!

Be the first to know when news breaks, sign up to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.


Follow us on Twitter