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Graham Zusi is a healthy scratch for Sporting Kansas City

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11:37 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 12:03 p.m.

As Sporting Kansas City continues its cycle through five matches in 15 days, coach Peter Vermes continues to utilize his club’s depth.

That meant a night off for Graham Zusi.

Zusi sat out Saturday’s 1-1 draw against FC Dallas but squashed any rumors that he was nursing an injury.

“Everything’s fine,” Zusi said. “It was the decision of the coaches to rest a couple of guys. We have a lot of games in a short amount of time.”

Zusi said he expects to return to the field Wednesday when the club travels to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

“Absolutely,” he said. “One hundred percent.”

• The absences in the midfield — Paulo Nagamura also sat Saturday — opened a door for midfielder Jimmy Medranda.

Medranda, a 20-year-old Colombian midfielder, made his first career MLS start Saturday against FC Dallas.

“I thought he had a decent game,” Vermes said. “There were times he got caught up in it a little bit too much, but I think that will come with a little more time.”

Sporting KC acquired Medranda on loan last August before signing him to a permanent contract in February.

• Mechack Jerome made his first start of the season at right fullback Saturday, giving Sporting KC its third back-line combination in three matches.

Jerome is the fourth player to occupy one of the two fullback slots for the club. Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic and Josh Gardner have also made starts there.

The revolving door may continue Wednesday in Mexico City. Sinovic will be forced to sit out of the Champions League match because of yellow-card accumulation.

• Alex Martinez, the club’s third-round choice in January’s MLS SuperDraft, made his MLS debut Saturday when he subbed into the match in the 75th minute.

“There were a lot (of emotions),” Martinez said. “I was very happy and excited and thankful for the opportunity the coaches gave me. At first I was a bit nervous, but it felt amazing to go out there and get my first game with Sporting.”

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