Sporting Kansas City
Orlando City FC
Editor's Note: If you want to hear me be ranty about the US Open Cup, look at SBNation Kansas City tomorrow for my recap and my weekly article. For now, let's just assume that I love the US Open Cup and all of it's flaws like it has been important for the past 100 years.
One immediately assumes that this is a win going in. An MLS team going against a 2nd/3rd Division side should be a win every time as the gulf in talent is larger than say division to division in England. However, their are several exceptions to this rule. Last year, we learned very intimately that a USL-Pro team could walk in to Livestrong and leave with a win. The Richmond Kickers were in fact the first road team to win in Kansas City, and deserved the win in most regards. In several cases, other teams have made significant runs in the cup since MLS's inception and dominance. The most notable, and a team always competitive in the tournament, is the Rochester Rhinos; the only non-MLS team to win the cup since MLS started in 1996.
(More preview after the jump.
However, don't take that to mean there is level pegging for this match between Sporting KC and Orlando City. Given the three-weeks of rest between league games, you can expect a first-team squad from Sporting, perhaps with a few changes to get the immediate reserves some playing time. Don't expect us to just throw out the reserve squad and hope to walk away with a win. This gives Sporting a significant advantage, just simply on talent.
There is another factor at play here, and that is the aspirations of the opposing side.. For Orlando City, this is a demonstration of intent, that being that they wish to be the 20th MLS Franchise and nothing so far has indicated that they are behind anyone in that race. Sure, they aren't from New York; the prime target of Garber's search, but no other team has demonstrated the desire, marketplace, and simply management tactics that get their squad into that position. That and their logo is all kinds of English badassery in fuchsia. They haven't lost this year in any competition, they score almost two goals a game, and their defense is sufficient enough to not allow as many goals.
All said the final scoreline given a strong Sporting KC lineup should be 3-1, 3-0, 4-1 territory. Defensively, the advantages go to Sporting, both on their prowess and Orlando City's USL defense. Offensively, Sporting holds an advantage, but Orlando City has some weapons as well so perhaps a clean sheet is not in order.
Look, and I got through this whole preview without mentioning that Wayne Rooney's brother plays for them. In my case, I work in a restaurant and my brother is a fantastic chef, but that does not make me any good. Same goes for John Rooney.
Come join in on the commentary, twitter tells me that the game's feed is streaming off of YouTube. Until then, I'll chat about anything you can come up with.