Sporting Kansas City look to bounce back after a late loss to LAFC on Saturday. Ironically, they are on the road three days later in Los Angeles (MLS, how about making the two LA games back-to-back in LA?) to face the LA Galaxy.
Sporting KC Injury/Availability Updates
OUT – Cam Duke (concussion), Kortne Ford (Achilles surgery), Willy Agada (stress fracture tibia), Tim Melia (quad), Logan Ndenbe (hamstring), Marinos Tzionis (International Duty – Cyprus), Graham Zusi (hamstring)
#SportingKC Official Injury/Availability Report:
QUESTIONABLE: Fontas (hamstring), Pierre (hamstring)
OUT: Duke (concussion), Tzionis (Int. Duty), Ndenbe (hamstring), Zusi (hamstring), Melia (quad), Ford (Achilles), Agada (tibia)
Duke is the only addition. #LAvSKC
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) June 19, 2023
Cam Duke is the only addition to the injury report. It’s unclear at this time when he picked the head injury. Johnny Russell and Dany Rosero, after returning against LAFC, are off the report.
Update 9:02 pm: Thad confirmed it happened in the SKC II game.
Duke picked up a concussion with SKC II. https://t.co/Psx3AUYG2W
— Thad (@TheBackpost) June 21, 2023
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Starting XI Predictions
Whether Sporting KC rotate on Wednesday or Saturday, they need to not run these guys into the ground.
Is it Erik Thommy again for Marinos Tzionis?
Johnny Russell got a cameo at the end of the LAFC game (which may have been the domino that ironically, led to the loss), but he’s surely not 90 minutes fit. The question is, can he at least start? The problem with Thommy starting at the right wing spot is it left no punch on the bench (outside of Russell, who was returning from injury and sure to be a bit rusty).
It’s weird to say after I slandered him yet again on my podcast, but I’d rather Khiry Shelton have started the game than come off the bench. He should only come off the bench to close out a win. And clearly not at right back.
I think Thommy will probably be needed in the midfield (not that Felipe Hernandez couldn’t get a start, but it’s a less creative lineup that way). I don’t feel like Gadi Kinda is fit enough to play extensive minutes in back-to-back games on short rest, but we’ll likely see.
Who plays at Center Back?
Coming off a hamstring injury, I’m not sure you start Dany Rosero in back-to-back games on three days rest. He looked pretty labored down the stretch and appeared to be grabbing at his previously injured hamstring.
With the LA Galaxy missing both Chicharito Hernandez (torn ACL) and Dejan Joveljic (Serbian international duty), you’d hope your backup CBs could get the job done. It’s possible Andreu Fontas is ready to go, and you could pair him with Robert Castellanos if you want a more athletic partner or Robi Voloder out of position, who has some familiarity playing with Fonti. Playing Rosero just feels like an unnecessary risk with a third game Saturday.
To Rotate or Not?
If you pick a game to do heavier rotation, I’d pick the Eastern Conference game against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. The Galaxy are in the West (though they are quite bad) and points are sort of doubled (if they were to somehow get on a run). Then again, maybe bunkering a bit on the road with some “kids” in the lineup wouldn’t be a bad idea and then the team can look to bounce back at home on the weekend.
Let’s be honest, the starters will probably mostly play in both games.
Rest of the Lineup
- Presumably, not having to go all 90 this past weekend, means Jake Davis will be okay to play right back. Maybe Pierre pops back up on the bench? I’d really like that.
- The right wing starter has a huge impact on the rest of the team. If Thommy is out there and Kinda can’t play midfield, I’d suspect it’s Felipe Hernandez, but I’m guessing it’s Remi and Thommy to start ahead of Radoja. (But then I couldn’t decide on someone else to play RW, so I went against my own prediction and put Thommy at RW).
- McIntosh let in two goals, but I’m not sure either can be laid at his feet, so he seems the probable starter.
- There are really no other options at LB (Leibold), LW (Salloi) and CF (Pulido). Afrifa or Shelton could start at CF, but I just don’t see Peter doing it.
Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Espinoza, Afrifa, Rosero, Voloder, Shelton, Russell, Flores, Kinda
Only Duke was added to the report and he’s not getting a lot of votes, so that shouldn’t impact things too much. A few notes:
- I think you all didn’t have enough time to vote in this short week based on how skewed some of the players percentages were.
- Davis with our first 100 percent of the season, which frankly makes sense because I’m not sure who else you play there except another out of position midfielder. Also, I give this an asterisk because of the limited number of votes that were cast.
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 (91.7%), Pulskamp (8.3%)
Defenders: Davis (100%), Leibold (95.8%), Rosero (95.8%), Castellanos (66.7%), Fontas (25.0%), Voloder (12.5%), Ndenbe (4.2%)
Midfielders: Radoja (91.7%), Walter (79.2%), Kinda (75.0%), Thommy (50.0%), Hernandez (4.2%), Espinoza (4.2%)
Wingers: Salloi (91.7%), Russell (62.5%), Thommy (37.5%), Duke (4.2%)
Strikers: Pulido (95.8%), Afrifa (4.2%)