KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City officially has lost its second Designated Player for the season.
Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes announced Friday that attacking midfielder Gadi Kinda needs to undergo another procedure on his knee and has been added to the season-ending injury list.
Kinda, 28, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Israel, hadn’t suited up this season for Sporting KC after undergoing a minor meniscus repair on the knee in December, but another issue related to circulation within the bones of the knee will keep him from suiting up at all this season.
The club officially termed it a “cartilage restoration procedure,” which will keep Kinda out for seven to nine months.
Vermes said Kinda underwent a preparatory surgery Tuesday with the main surgery set for mid-May in California.
“The good news is that his issue has been figured out,” Vermes said.
Kinda was still experiencing pain in the knee well after the typical timeline for recovery from the meniscus repair, which led to the discovery in recent days of the additional knee injury.
"They know what it is (and) it'll be fixed, but he'll be out until 2023," Vermes said.
Winger Johnny Russell is Sporting KC’s lone remaining Designated Player with Kinda and star Mexican forward Alan Pulido, who underwent season-ending knee surgery in January, sidelined for the season.
There were hopes within the club that Kinda’s return, which had been expected sometime in April, would provide a jolt for Sporting KC (2-6-1, 7 points), which currently sits 12th among 14 teams in the MLS Western Conference standings.
“In any league, in any sport, if you lose two of your best players, you’re probably going to falter,” Sporting II coach Benny Feilhaber said. “Within MLS, the way that the system is built, the way that the rosters are built, it makes it an even bigger mountain to climb.”
MLS teams are permitted to sign three Designated Players through a budget mechanism that allows teams to add high-end talent at a reduced salary-cap charge.
Losing Kinda — who has scored 11 goals with eight assists in 44 matches during the last two seasons and brings an explosive attacking presence to the midfield — is a big blow as SKC looks to get untracked.
“Any time any player on your team gets a significant injury or is out for a year, it always has an impact on the team,” Vermes said. “That’s just natural.”
Vermes said Kinda's spot will be filled game to game depending on the opponent, but Marinos Tzionis, Remi Walter, Felipe Hernandez and Cam Duke could rotate through the attacking midfield spot.
"There's guys who can step in and do the job," veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza said. "As a team, we're staying positive and want to do things the right way and win games. That's what we're here to do."
The club gets some salary-cap relief by moving Kinda to the season-ending injury list and nets an international roster spot, but SKC won't be able to sign a new Designated Player.
"We don't have that kind of money," Vermes said, but he added that the club does have some flexibility to make an addition.
Any roster move won't come before the May 4 transfer window closes, but he anticipates adding a player during the summer transfer window.
"Obviously, we have some challenges in front of us," Vermes said. "... Everybody's going to have to give a little bit more, everybody's going to have to work a little bit harder and just do more. That's what the job requires."
In other injury news, Vermes said that center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, who suffered an orbital fracture in Saturday's draw with the Columbus Crew, underwent successful surgery Monday. He's still expected to miss two to four weeks as he recovers from a concussion suffered on the play, barring any setbacks.
Sporting KC returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The game can be seen locally on KSHB 41’s sister station, 38 The Spot.