High-fives and handshakes are off the table, and he can’t lace up his own cleats, but Seth Sinovic will be back on the pitch when Sporting Kansas City open US Open Cup play on Tuesday.
“The doctors said he’s ready to go,” manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after Monday’s training session, in preparation for Tuesday night’s home matchup against USL Pro side Orlando City SC (8:30 pm ET). “It’s not the nicest-looking thing, but he can play, so that’s a good thing. The difficulty is going to be in him falling down or throwing the ball in, but we’ll see.”
The left back, who already has his right hand and forearm in a cast as he heals from a fracture, split open the palm of his left hand in the 20th minute of Sunday’s 2-1 victory over San Jose when he collided with an LED board beyond the endline.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting KC 2, San Jose 1
“Obviously, I was bracing myself and felt the impact of it,” Sinovic said. “I didn’t think twice about it, and then I felt this warm rush to my hand and I could tell I was bleeding quite a bit. It didn’t hurt.”
The wound took 20 stitches to close, and Sinovic’s left hand was tightly bandaged for Monday’s training session.
“I’m good to go,” he said. “It could always be worse. No tendons, no muscles. Just a pretty nasty gash. It looks awkward, but that’s why you play soccer with your feet.”
So who ties his boots?
Sinovic laughed: “The trainers have been pretty good about that.”
The young left back’s toughness doesn’t surprise his manager.
“That’s the kind of guys you want on your team,” Vermes said. “I always tell the guys, ‘The best you’re ever going to feel is the first day of preseason, before it starts. After that, you’re going to have all kinds of injuries and problems.’ Which guys are going to play through that stuff and gut it out?”
With such a short turnaround from Sunday’s game, and with forward Kei Kamara and midfielder Roger Espinoza gone on international duty, Vermes is still weighing his other lineup options for Tuesday night.
He did say, however, that 21-year-old goalkeeper Jon Kempin will make his first career non-Reserve League start.
“I think he’s ready,” Vermes said. “He’s played in quite a few reserve games, and he’s done well. He’s been the backup for us every game, and if something had happened to Jimmy [Nielsen, Sporting’s No. 1], he’d have been in. We wouldn’t have put him out there if we didn’t think he was ready.”
Kempin, elevated to the No. 2 spot when Eric Kronberg went out with a back injury in the preseason, said he was looking forward to the Orlando City match.
“It’s always good to get 90 minutes, especially in a big game,” Kempin said. “This is really my first big game.”