Sporting had the chance to seize control of the Eastern Conference against Philadelphia. However, having failed to do so, Sporting is now currently in third place, as the Houston Dynamo defeated FC Dallas 1-0 on Saturday. Houston now sits atop of the Eastern Conference with 42 points, followed by Columbus and Kansas City, both at 41 points, but with Columbus holding the tiebreaker thanks to a 1-0 win over Sporting in April that gives them the head-to-head advantage.
I'm resigned to the fact that perhaps Sporting Kansas City is a better team with Julio Cesar in the holding midfielder role. In the Philadelphia match, Peter Vermes decided to start the game with Espinoza in the defensive midfielder role, and with Cesar teaming up with Matt Besler in the center of the defense, and Aurelien Collin on the bench.
I think it's safe to say that Vermes was not happy with the results, particularly with the play of Jeferson, who was pulled in the 46th minute of play. Collin was then inserted into the center back position where Cesar was playing, and Julio was moved up to holding midfielder. Espinoza moved higher up the field to team up with Zusi.
In the 56th minute of play, Sporting Kansas City scored. Coincidence, perhaps, as Sporting did have multiple chances in the first half that they just weren't able to finish, but Vermes might feel like he wants his best players on the field, and at this point, Jeferson is the odd man out.
Of course, if Davy Arnaud is fit enough to come back, then I think he starts, but after being wrong on Friday, I'll bet that he's not ready to go just yet.
It will be interesting to see who Vermes starts at the top of the formation. Bunbury started against the Union, and was basically non existent. That makes the second straight game that Teal hasn't quite shown up. Slightly disappointing after his two goal performance against the Dynamo. I think Vermes will start Sapong against Columbus on Wednesday. With as much time as Sporting spent crossing the ball into the box against the Union, Sapong will offer more of a threat to actually connect, and convert.
Player to Watch; Andres Mendoza- Mendoza has 11 goals this season, only two behind MLS leader Dwayne De Rosario of DC United. Sporting were unable to keep Philadelphia forward Sebastien Le Toux out of the stat sheet Friday, as he netted a goal in the 63rd minute. Sporting can't afford the Crew's best scorer that same luxury.
Prediction- Sporting Kansas City 2, Columbus Crew 1
If Sporting Kansas City are the team we hope and think they are, they should be able to take of business at home. If Sporting can't collect three points, then perhaps it might be time to actually start worrying.
Sporting Kansas City-- OUT: DF Daneil Cyrus (L foot fracture); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE; MF Birahim Diop (lower back strain); MF Luke Sassano (R knee sprain)
Columbus Crew-- OUT: DF Ben Sippola (R hamstring strain), MF Tony Tchiani (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Rich Balchan (L oblique strain); MF Corey Veeder (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Eddie Gaven (R lower leg contusion); DF Chad Marshall (L hip flexor strain); PROBABLE: FW Emilio Renteria (concussion); GK Andy Gruenebaum (R thumb fracture); MF Bernardo Anor (L ankle sprain)