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Rosero, Fontas and Ndenbe Added to Sporting KC Injury Report

With all these new names on the injury report, who is actually available to start for Sporting Kansas City against Austin FC this weekend?



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City finally have a few days off and proper rest heading into their two-game home stretch against fledgling Austin FC followed by league darlings LAFC. It’s a shame they are all beat up. Let’s get to the injuries!

Sporting KC Injury/Availability Updates

OUT – Kortne Ford (Achilles surgery), Kayden Pierre (hamstring), Willy Agada (stress fracture tibia), Tim Melia (quad), Johnny Russell (hamstring), Logan Ndenbe (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE – Dany Rosero (hamstring), Andreu Fontas (hamstring)

Yikes! Another rough report. After missing last weekend (without being on the injury report and still travelling with the team), Dany Rosero shows up questionable. Logan Ndenbe left the game early and now he’s out injured. Andreu Fontas subbed off at halftime and now he’s questionable. The regular starting defenders may all miss the game (Leibold hasn’t yet cemented himself and Davis has been playing RB but is a midfielder).

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Starting XI Predictions

The injuries make a mess of an assignment for picking a starting XI.

Who plays at Center Back?

It’s possible the questionable designations for Rosero and Fontas won’t mean much, and they’ll play. That said, Vermes has been conservative with muscle injuries this season after bringing Nemanja Radoja back too soon and promptly seeing him miss a huge portion of the season (and possibly pushing Leibold too soon too). Russell has missed two stretches with hamstring injuries. Pierre’s been out since the first FC Dallas game. The list goes on and on.

If the “starters” can’t play, I’d imagine we’ll see Robi Voloder at LCB and Robert Castellanos at RCB. Voloder has had an extremely limited number of minutes in his natural spot (even if he gave up a sloppy PK last weekend) and Castellanos seems to be ahead of Chris Rindov on the depth chart overall.

Who Backs Up Tim Leibold?

With Logan Ndenbe listed as out, Tim Leibold is the likely starter. However, he’s still not fully fit. The most he’s played in a single match since returning from an injury of his own was 48 minutes. That was last weekend against the Vancouver Whitecaps and came out of necessity because Ndenbe left injured. Before that, he only played a full half two other times (5/20 against St. Louis and 3/11 against the LA Galaxy). In the Galaxy game, he went 77 minutes but then was injured for over two months.

In other words, he is unlikely to go 90 minutes and someone else will need to play left back, but literally all the other fullbacks on the roster (Ndenbe, Zusi, Pierre) are hurt. Remi Walter played a little LB in a pinch earlier in the season and that’s the direction I’d go. He’s a smart player and can handle it well. And he definitely won’t be too tired to make a lung busting run late when it matters. Roger Espinoza also played this in the US Open Cup game against the Houston Dynamo and also early in his KC soccer career.

Other options include midfielders like Felipe Hernandez, or emergency right back Khiry Shelton.

Are Loans on the Horizon from SKC II?

I could 100 percent see this happening. The team can make loans up from the second team for any of their professional players (read: not the guys on amateur, academy deals). Players can be loaned up to four times and appear in up to two games. Ironically, they are pretty thin at left back on the second team as well, with Academy prospect Nati Clarke playing most of those minutes. He wouldn’t be eligible.

They would be able to loan someone like Mo Abualnadi, who is a LCB/LB who spent time with the first team in the US Open Cup game against Tulsa Athletic (doesn’t count towards the four loans since it’s outside of league play). The first team is also super thin at RB with Zusi out, so someone like Lucas Rosa would make a ton of sense. If they need CB depth, they have the aforementioned Abualnadi, Jahon Rad or Nassim Mekideche.

The only other position that is super thin is winger, and I don’t see them making a loan based on their prior weeks. They could easily just play Cam Duke there in a pinch. But if they wanted guys off the second team, Sebastian Cruz, Andrew Draper and Alenis Vargas have all had their moments. Vargas is an international, which likely rules him out, but the other two could come up in a pinch (and Cruz also did in the Tulsa game and sat the bench in the Houston US Open Cup game).

For those wondering about Ethan Bryant, the team seems pretty set in the midfield. And frankly, I doubt they do any of these things, but fullback is definitely the biggest need and Rosa (a right back for SKC II) has played well.

Anything but Second: The Paradox and Potential of Ethan Bryant

Goalkeeper Battle

The Shades of Blue guys already broke this down, but I wanted to weigh in. I had been on the side of playing whoever is the sharpest lately. We haven’t seen John Pulskamp, but I assume he hasn’t outplayed McIntosh in practice since he hadn’t unseated him. The SOB guys make a good point about Kendall McIntosh going for the punch instead of the catch too often, and that has led to second balls (including the goal called back for offside against the Vancouver Whitecaps).

I think he’s far better with his feet and his quick distribution at times has jump started the Sporting KC attack. I’m not sure if Pulskamp is ever going to pan out, but he has plenty of time to do it and I’m fine sticking with Kendall at this point.

A fun stat for you. Tim Melia became the starting goalkeeper for Sporting Kansas City back in 2015 at 29 years old after being a career backup. McIntosh has gotten the starting job (by Melia getting hurt) in 2023 at 29 years old. For those saying he’s too old, I’m not buying that. Keepers play much longer, and I think he has a lot of the attributes needed to be successful. He needs work, but so did Tim in 2015 and so does Pulskamp now. John is on a long-term deal, let him compete with Kendall and we’ll see where things stand.

Who should start in goal for Sporting KC?

Rest of the Lineup

  • I think Gadi Kinda is a super sub (even though he’s a Designated Player). I suspect it’s Remi and Thommy starting, but Gadi should get in most every game, and rotate in as a starter as needed. And frankly, he didn’t look healthy and was gassed immediately on that awful turf in Vancouver last weekend.
  • The front line should remain unchanged. Left to right: Salloi, Pulido and Tzionis. The question is who gets in as a backup, and I’d really like to see Stephen Afrifa if/when Pulido gets tired.
  • Radoja has the defensive midfielder spot on lockdown. Write his name in with ink!
  • There are no healthy “right backs,” but this should be Davis’ spot for the foreseeable future. I’ll be interested to see if Pierre pushes for minutes if/when he’s finally healthy.

Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Espinoza, Afrifa, Duke, Rindov, Hernandez, Shelton, Rosa, Cisneros

Fan XI

All the new injuries could have impacted the votes as it was unclear if Fontas and Rosero were actually injured last weekend. A few notes:

  • Jake Davis got the highest percentage of anyone on the team. We didn’t put Shelton in the poll as a defender, but I guess we probably should. Not sure who you all had at right back otherwise? Maybe Cam Duke? I never want to see Duke play fullback again. He’s an attacker.
  • I’m honestly surprised that Radoja isn’t a near 100 percent vote getter. He’s starting unless he’s injured. I promise.
  • Quite a few write-ins that didn’t register below, but I added some of them for the next poll.

Here is the tally of your fan vote. Starters in italics with guys at five or so percent showing up with their tallies.

Goalkeepers: McIntosh (64.5%), Pulskamp (35.5%)

Defenders: Davis (97.4%), Rosero (77.6%), Fontas (76.3%), Leibold (51.3%), Ndenbe (44.7%), Castellanos (25.0%), Voloder (15.8%)

Midfielders: Radoja (81.6%), Thommy (78.9%), Kinda (72.4%), Walter (52.6%), Espinoza (6.6%), Hernandez (5.3%)

Wingers: Salloi (94.7%), Tzionis (77.6%), Russell (10.5%), Shelton (6.6%)

Strikers: Pulido (90.8%), Afrifa (7.9%)

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 fancy.

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