While Minnesota United will be missing four potential starters because of national team duty, an injury and a suspension, opponent Sporting Kansas City will have similar limitations when the teams face off at 4 p.m. Saturday in Kansas City.
Sporting will be missing midfielder Roger Espinoza on a red-card suspension, defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi on U.S. national team duty, and forward Diego Rubio with an ACL injury. Meanwhile, forward Dom Dwyer and defender Kevin Ellis are both questionable for this weekend with injuries, according to the Kansas City Star. (Sporting signed defender Amer Didic from its reserve team, possibly as a backup for these absences.)
United will be without team captain and center-back Francisco Calvo and midfielder Johan Venegas, both on national team duty with Costa Rica. Forward Abu Danladi is still working his way back from a groin injury. And holding midfielder Sam Cronin was retroactively suspended by MLS' disciplinary committee Tuesday for a tackle he made against Orlando City this past weekend.
Loons coach Adrian Heath said while he was disappointed with the suspension decision, the team isn't lingering on it.
"I think it actually looked worse than it was when the camera was so head-on, and you see the guy's ankle go over," United coach Adrian Heath said Thursday after practice about the tackle. "Had it been on the other side, the camera, I don't think it would have looked quite as bad."
The Loons should have two players who missed last weekend back, though, as midfielders Kevin Molino and Bashkim Kadrii trained Thursday after overcoming an illness.
"Obviously, still a bit of an issue for them, a process for them because they've had four or five days not keeping much down or in, and so you do get dehydrated with that," Heath said. "But by the weekend, they're going to be fine. Especially Kev, because he'll be playing."
Heath also said holding midfielder Collen Warner, who has been a bench player these past few weeks since losing his starting spot, will likely feature this weekend. Heath also said Tuesday that midfielder Rasmus Schuller, who has struggled with a hip flexor injury, will be available to play this weekend as well.
"I don't want to make too much of an issue about the fact that we haven't got players because Sporting are in the same boat," Heath said. "And what are we saying, that the people who are coming in aren't capable of playing at this level? I've mentioned that to them this morning, they have to go into the game with the mindset that, 'If I play really well, maybe I keep my place.' And for some of them, it's the best opportunity that they've had.
"I'm not worried about the team selection. I'm just worried about the attitude of the group going into the game."