KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sporting Kansas City will have at least one more regular available for the home leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Two more are still in question, though, as Sporting get ready for Wednesday's first-leg matchup against surging Mexican side Cruz Azul (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2).
After holding fullbacks Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic and defensive midfielder Uri Rosell out of Sporting's season-opening 1-0 loss at Seattle on Saturday, manager Peter Vermes said Rosell – who has been coming back from a sprained ankle sustained seven minutes into Sporting's MLS Cup title victory on Dec. 7 – is clear to play on Wednesday.
“I'm not sure about Seth and Chance yet,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after Monday's training session. “I say that because this was their first real training, so I have to see how they line up tomorrow when they come back. So we'll see. I'm hoping to know tomorrow. Some of it may be, I don't want to say 'game time,' but it might be early afternoon on Wednesday.”
Rosell, whose last minutes came as a 68th-minute sub for Catalonia on Dec. 30 in a 4-1 exhibition win over Cape Verde, said he's at 100 percent for the Cruz Azul match and acknowledged that the turf at CenturyLink Field was a consideration in Saturday's opener.
“Sometimes when you don't feel 100 percent, and with the turf, you have to be a little more prudent,” he said. “It's a technical decision, but I also think it was good for me.”
Sinovic, who came out of Sporting's preseason finale with hip tightness, said the CLink surface wasn't a factor. So did Myers, who picked up a groin strain in training last week.
“It was just precautionary, one of those things where you don't want to have a small thing turn into a big thing,” Sinovic said. “If I was 100 percent ready to go for the Seattle game, I would have played, Wednesday regardless. It was just one of those things where it's early in the season and you don't want to take any chances on making it a lingering thing.”
Myers agreed: “We were just being smart, knowing we have a big game on Wednesday. It was just my body in general. If it would have been on a grass field, it would have been the same decision.”
If neither of his starting fullbacks can go against Cruz Azul, Vermes said, he has full confidence in the two players who started against the Sounders – Josh Gardner at left back and Kevin Ellis on the right side.
“The guys who played the other day did a great job,” he said. “Now we've got a little different tactical discipline in the game, but they did a really, really good job in the game. It's not as if I'm – everybody brings their own qualities to the position, each individual guy. When we get to game time, I'd love to pick from everybody, but that won't be the case. It just isn't.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.