By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Slow starts and multiple injuries plague the club. But can Sporting Kansas City bounce back before it’s too late?
Sporting KC is currently in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, under Real Salt Lake – who fell to the LA Galaxy this past weekend. Even though they are undefeated at home, the defense is suffering due to multiple injuries. A list that is still dangerously growing.
The club confirmed on Wednesday morning, Gerso Fernandes underwent surgery for a broken wrist – now joining a long list of injuries:
- Matt Belser (hamstring strain)
- Roger Espinoza (PCL sprain)
- Rodney Wallace (hip)
- Jaylin Lindsey (torn meniscus)
- Jimmy Medranda (knee)
- Erik Hurtado (knee)
Only Besler is expected to return within the next month. Jimmy Medranda is set to return in June or July after a lengthy absence. This week he returned to training as a “neutral player,” which Manager Peter Vermes called: a step in the right direction.
The injuries are also affecting training as Tuesday’s training session was canceled due to a limited amount of players available – nine players were out. “This is the most guys we’ve ever had out,” Vermes told the press.
Midfielder Ilie Sanchez echoed similar frustrations:
“That’s unlucky for us. We are struggling in that area. […] Because fútbol is a contact sport. You are constantly getting hit [and] in pain. Most of those injured are coming from that contact against the opponent. This will change and we will get better. We will get players recovered, so that will help the team to have better dynamics.”
Although Sporting Kansas City is not the only MLS team to participate in the Concacaf Champions League this year, I was still wary of the effects it could have on the roster in the long run. The team had a great run in the CCL but it clearly came with a cost.
But it’s not over, yet. Even though we would normally see these type of injuries during the mid-season, it’s still early in the season for Sporting KC to turn things around.
Can we get players from the USL side, Swope Park Rangers? Technically, yes.
When asked about the possibility, Vermes explained:
“The problem is, the mechanisms are not in our favor. So we have to drop below fourteen available players before we can actually pull a player from the Swope Park Rangers for a short term loan. So it’s a catch 22, you don’t want to be in that place but then again – maybe you do, because you need the players.”
Though it is important to note that Vermes hope we’re “returning players” to avoid that situation.
The team will most likely have to rely on Daniel Salloi – who has been doing well at training. Along with Johnny Russell, Kristztián Nemeth, Graham Zusi, etc. while their teammates recover. Plus, Gianluca Busio and Tyler Freeman are with the United States U-17s.
Sporting KC is set to host reigning MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United on Sunday, May 5. And looking forward, the players are staying optimistic.
“It’s mental and hopefully that throughout this week, we look back and see the things we have – obviously with the injuries. And the fact that we do need to jell together as a team in different positions. Hopefully, this week we’ll determine that,” Kelyn Rowe stated.
Featured image: Sporting KC
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