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Two New Additions to the Sporting KC Injury Report

Plus, who did you all vote for in the fan vote and who do we predict will be in the Starting XI (and game day 20) against LAFC this weekend?



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City enter the third week of the Major League Soccer season still looking for their first win. This week, they have some new injuries that may actually impact the starting lineup.

Sporting KC Injury/Availability Updates

OUT – Logan Ndenbe (Torn ACL), Khiry Shelton (ankle surgery)

QUESTIONABLE – Remi Walter (ankle), Alenis Vargas (hamstring)

Johnny Russell is officially off the injury report for the first time this season. That makes sense after he played the full 90 last weekend against the Philadelphia Union.

The new additions to the injury report include one that makes sense and one that came as news this week. Alenis Vargas apparently picked up a hamstring injury in practice, but Remi Walter clearly was injured in the game. Alejandro Bedoja, who would go on to score the game tying goal, had a rough challenge on Walter minutes after subbing on at halftime.

Amazingly, despite being down for a couple minutes, Walter played the rest of the game. He would run when he was required to, but limp in between plays and as soon as the game ended. After the game, several media members requested to talk to him, but we were told he was going to be in treatment for a long time. There is no question why when you look at that tackle. Vermes chimed in on Thursday that he thought maybe it should be a red.

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Starting XI Predictions

Let’s talk about those injuries.

What if Walter Can’t Play?

While he hasn’t appeared all season, Felipe Hernandez would appear to be Remi’s primary backup. However, the only midfielder to sub into games so far has been Memo Rodriguez, but he feels more of a like-for-like replacement for Erik Thommy.

I’d still prefer Hernandez to do all the ground cover for the midfield if Remi is out. He’s tireless in his efforts and actually shares a lot of similarities in his game to Remi. And Felipe can deliver a very nice set piece ball if the opportunity presents itself.

All that being said, I’d expect it to still be Walter playing in the middle of the midfield. Daniel Sperry of the KC Star reported that Vermes thought Remi was still likely to play.

Whether Remi does or doesn’t play, go check out a fun story at the front of the last For the Glory KC podcast I got to tell about Remi.

Vargas Out of the Lineup?

Vargas on the other hand, as highlighted in the tweet above from Sperry, sounds like he won’t play. That opens up a spot on the 20-man gameday roster. The most likely person to fill that role may be Marinos Tzionis who has yet to make the bench this season. Then again, Vermes could decide to bring someone like Kayden Pierre who is capable on the wing in a pinch but can also fill in at right back (not that Jake Davis is showing any signs of needing a break).

Whoever is on the bench in this spot probably won’t see the field if I had to venture a guess.

Rest of the Lineup

I don’t anticipate any changes to the lineup for the third consecutive week. There are some things I’d like to see change though.

  • Peter used all five subs in week one against the Houston Dynamo but only three of them against Philly. He also subbed much later in week two. Maybe because the game was going better.
  • If you are going to bring on Afrifa and Agada, then need more than 10 minutes to work. We’ll see if the tactics around subbing look more like week one, or more like all the years we’ve known Vermes.
  • If the team is ahead, like against Philadelphia, I wouldn’t mind seeing a third center back come on to close out the game. Would Robert Castellanos have just headed that final corner away if he was in? I think it’s possible. He’s quite good in the air, even if the rest of his game has holes. Having him and Rosero winning balls in the air if the team is up a goal feels like a good strategy.

Rest of the 20: Pulskamp, Rodriguez, Agada, Bassong, Voloder, Castellanos, Tzionis, Afrifa, Hernandez

Fan XI

A couple observations from the voting this week:

  • Those GK votes don’t add up. Either way, Pulskamp is climbing, and Melia is falling. Would Pulskamp have saved the two goals allowed? Maybe?
  • The CB votes don’t add up either. Does someone want a 2 GK, 3 CB formation? At least three CBs is a legal formation.
  • Did Tzionis’ mom vote for him at multiple spots?
  • In all seriousness, Pulido took another dip in center forward votes. He’s left a lot to be desired two weeks into the season.

Here is the tally of your fan vote. Starters in italics. And everyone else who got around five percent of the vote.

Goalkeepers: Melia (92.1%), Pulskamp (10.5%)

Defenders: Davis (100%), Rosero (100%), Fontas (97.4%), Leibold (89.5%), Castellanos (7.9%), Bassong (5.3%), Voloder (5.3%)

Midfielders: Walter (100%), Thommy (97.4%), Radoja (94.7%), Tzionis (5.3%)

Wingers: Russell (97.4%), Salloi (92.1%), Afrifa (7.9%), Tzionis (7.9%)

Strikers: Pulido (84.2%), Agada (18.4%), Salloi (5.3%)

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