Sporting KC welcomes Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Rich Lam

Sporting KC will look to capitalize on a short-handed Whitecaps squad as they host Vancouver tonight.

It was a wild victory for Sporting Kansas City Saturday night as they took down the Columbus Crew 3-2 off of a Kei Kamara brace. They will welcome a short-handed Vancouver Whitecaps team to Sporting Park in an effort to get July off to a good start as the second half of the season gets underway.

About the Teams

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City ended a nearly six-week winless stretch after they defeated the Columbus Crew Saturday night. The six-week mark is blown out of proportion due to the fact that they only played three matches in June before the Columbus game but it's a stretch that is uncharacteristic of Sporting. However history tells us that the team will perform well in July and they will bring a full-strength starting eleven to the match, missing only Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome.

Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps are a team that have won three straight matches against the New England Revolution, Chivas USA and DC United. While that isn't exactly murderer's row in terms of opponents, winning three straight matches can do wonders for a team's confidence and momentum. They sit in fourth place in the Western Conference and are climbing with every match. However they have a boatload of injuries, plus a lack of defensive depth which may cost them in this match.

How they will Win

Sporting KC

As mentioned above, Vancouver has had trouble with keeping their defense healthy so far this year. Star defender Jay DeMerit was injured early in the season and Andy O'Brien was injured in early June. Sporting needs to take advantage of Vancouver's strained back line and put the pressure on the attacking half. The amount of pressure Sporting put on Columbus should be enough to net a couple of goals and three points.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Columbus almost got a draw out of Sporting KC by capitalizing on the mistakes made by Sporting. Poor recovery lead Arrieta to score a goal off a 65-yard run on a counter and a bad pass by Seth Sinovic allowed Oduro to score. If Vancouver can use the counters well and expose Sporting's poor recoveries they may be able to find a goal or two in Kansas City.

Players to Watch

Sporting KC- CJ Sapong

CJ Sapong was suspended for the match against Columbus, where a hungry Soony Saad filled in and play a very impressive match. Many fans have been calling for Soony to be a regular starter. If Sapong is playing tomorrow, he may be playing for his starting job with Saad waiting in the wings to become the regular winger. This type of defense that Vancouver uses favors Sapong and his athletic ability. Sapong could be due for a big match if the game plan uses his athleticism correctly.

Vancouver Whitecaps- Camillo Sanvezzo

Sanvezzo has been the hot hand for Vancouver for the past few matches. After converting a penalty kick goal against DC United he extended his goal-scoring streak to four in as many matches. He has also scored seven goals and recorded three assists in the past six matches.

Wow.

Sanvezzo will have to be the hot hand for Vancouver and could provide some much needed offense for the Whitecaps if they are to overcome their defensive woes.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting KC: Nielsen, Sinvoic, Collin, Besler, Myers, Nagamura, Rosell, Zusi, Sapong, Bieler, Kamara
Vancouver: Knighton, Reo-Coker, Mitchell, Leveron, Harvey, Kobayashi, Davidson, Miller, Watson, Rusin, Sanvezzo

Score

Sporting KC 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver has a good attack but Sporting's pressure should be able to net a couple of goals for the home side and get themselves the win.

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