It seemed that breaking news regarding injuries to Sporting KC starters GK Andy Gruenebaum and MF Pablo Nagamura came out on Twitter this afternoon, with both apparently listed as OUT on Sporting KC’s game notes for this weekend’s match vs Toronto FC.
However, the report was soon refuted by the Star’s Sporting KC beat writer Sam McDowell:
Andy Gruenebaum, right shoulder strain
While both are supposedly listed as questionable, it appears the Gruenbaum is a near lock to miss the match against Jermaine Defoe, Michael Bradley and the rest of TFC, with a right shoulder strain he picked up against Vancouver. Reports from both the KC Star and MLSSoccer.com both say that he’s unlikely to return this week.
Even if he was something close to 100 percent, his injury history would suggest that giving him an extra game to rest isn’t the worst idea in the world. After all, he came to Kansas City via Columbus this offseason after he lost his starting job last season due to a left shoulder injury that caused him to miss significant time. The knock on the 2012 Keeper of the Year finalist has always been his penchant for injuries.
Paulo Nagamura, sprained left ankle
Nagamura seems more likely of the two to play. He sustained a ankle injury last month against the Chicago Fire. Nagamura took part in side-work yesterday, and was expected to practice in full today, according to Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. Given that Nagamura has been sidelined for more than a month, it seems unlikely he’d start and/or accumulate big minutes this weekend–if he plays. His presence would be nice in a midfield that’s been decimated by injuries this season.
What does this mean for Saturday’s match?
This sets the stage for rookie ‘keeper Jon Kempin to make his first MLS start. Earlier last month, he was starting for third division Oklahoma City Energy FC, of the USL Pro. Considering his performance when called upon last week in Vancouver, most MLS teams would be worse position if forced to start their third-string ‘keeper.
As for Paulo, even if he contributes, he won’t be playing major minutes because he needs to rebuild his fitness level after missing a month.
However, The Eastern Conference leaders are set to trot out their 24th different lineup in 24 regular season matches. Injuries and key players missing time is almost a theme to Sporting’s 2014 campaign. Vermes and Co., continue to sport their “next man up” attitude. Which is something spectacular considering their prime position to capture the Supporters Shield by the end of the season.