About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City is one of the many teams with a realistic shot at the Supporters Shield and need to win this match to keep pace with the rest of the league. They will get Graham Zusi and Matt Besler back from international duty after missing last week's match with Houston. Sporting has done well recently, winning four out of their past six matches and only lost one of those matches. They will present a full-strength lineup against DC United, save for a suspended Aurelien Collin, as they look for better playoff seeding and a chance at the Supporters Shield next week.
Needing to win their last two matches to avoid setting the record for fewest wins in an MLS season, DC United has not been very good this season. Yes they did win the US Open Cup, a Cinderella story like no other as they beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the final. They tried some interesting formations against Philadelphia last week, a game they almost won I might add, and I could see Ben Olsen using that again in Kansas City.
Who to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Dom Dwyer/Claudio Bieler
You can better believe that DC United's strategy on the road will involve putting nine or ten guys behind the ball and playing for a draw. They did it in both games against Sporting KC this season and I don't expect tonight to be different. Sporting will control possession and pressure the defense but it will be the job of whoever the center forward is tomorrow to put the ball in the net. They're going to be given every opportunity to do so throughout the match, they just need to convert and Sporting will be golden.
DC United- Nick DeLeon
DeLeon was a menace down the flank for DC United against the Union last week and could be instrumental in keeping Sporting honest in the midfield. He will be a threat to counter the entire match and will give Uri Rosell some trouble if he gets the ball down the flank with any space at all. Sporting should be able to defend him but the threat of him breaking down the sideline will keep Sporting's pressure back a little to make sure he doesn't counter.
How They Will Win
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting will get their possession tomorrow. They will control the tempo, possession and offense of the game. Most importantly, they will get opportunities at the net. Sporting cannot settle for any shot they can take and just start firing at will. They need to be more methodical and strive for good shots and good opportunities. They cannot allow the amount of DC United players behind the ball frustrate them to the point where they throw out all discretion and just start shooting. I know it's much easier said than done, but it's what needs to happen in this match.
As mentioned above, DC United has some weapons on the flanks. If they can keep the Sporting midfield and the Sporting fullbacks worried all game, it will seriously hamper Sporting KC's offensive production. By not allowing the fullbacks to press forward for fear of allowing a counter, DC can open the game up more and force through some chances for the offensively starved United. By not allowing Sporting to play their style in all aspects of the field, they stand a much better chance of winning.
Sporting KC: Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Uri Rosell, Peterson Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Soony Saad, Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
DC United: Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard, Dennis Iapichino; Nick DeLeon, Jared Jeffrey, Lewis Neal, Chris Pontius; Luis Silva, Conor Doyle.