Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes and two players are in MLS health and safety protocols, Vermes told media during a virtual press conference Monday. The club did not disclose which players are in the protocols.
“That’s probably unlikely,” Vermes said when asked if the players would be ready for their next game. Vermes added that he is not sure if he'll be cleared to be on the sidelines, though noted the club's playing and technical staff is 100% vaccinated.
In an unrelated update, Vermes added midfielder Felipe Hernandez will be away from the team. The likely absences of two players, plus Hernandez, gives SKC a number of players gone. Further, star striker Alan Pulido (Mexico) and young midfielder Gianluca Busio (United States) are currently on international duty ahead of their home match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+). Remi Walter, Jaylin Lindsey and Gadi Kinda each missed the club's last match on July 4 as well.
“It’s going to definitely cause shuffling in the lineup, plus with players away on international duty," Vermes said. "But we’ll put a good team out on the field as we always try to.”
Sporting KC sit second in the Western Conference standings, three points behind the Supporters' Shield-leading Seattle Sounders with a game in hand.
Without minutes-leader Busio, who is away with the US men's national team but on the verge of completing a transfer to Venezia FC, as well as club-record signing Pulido and further absences, SKC will be thin. If Vermes is not cleared to coach, it's likely that assistant Kerry Zavagnin will take charge of the match against San Jose.
“We’ve got a big squad for reasons like this," winger Johnny Russell said. "Everyone knows with what’s going on in the world now, circumstances change and change quickly. We have more than enough quality players who can step in.”
Between Wednesday and August 28, SKC have 10 games over a five-week period, including a Leagues Cup quarterfinal on August 10.
“We have a lot of games coming up," Russell said. "This is where we’re going to get tested as a squad. If we continue to pick up points the way we have been, this can set you apart from the pack. A lot of teams will look at it that way.”