About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting KC comes into this match with most of the advantages. They only need a draw or a win and they have the home crowd behind them. They also come in with having beat Olimpia once before, a 2-0 draw in Honduras in August. Since this match is sandwiched between two crucial league matches, Sporting will likely throw out a mixed lineup since they need a win on Saturday to give themselves a shot at the Supporters Shield. They put out a disappointing performance in their only other home CCL match, a 1-1 draw with Real Esteli.
Olimpia kept their CONCACAF Champions League hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Real Esteli at home in a match where losing would've eliminated them from knockout stage contention. They come in having one only once in their past five league matches, finally earning a victory in the last matchday. It's safe to say that they haven't been playing their best soccer lately but they'll come into Sporting Park needing a win and they'll have the underdog mentality towards them. They certainly won't lie down in this match.
Who to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Soony Saad
Soony Saad was a stud in the first match against Olimpia, scoring a goal off of a nice through ball and then converting a penalty in the second half. He induced some good pressure against the home side in the match and helped Sporting get the 2-0 victory in Honduras. With Claudio Bieler still mysteriously missing from the lineups, the scoring will be up to Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad, who will both be key to the offense in tonight's match. Saad's pressure on the wings could be crucial in getting the necessary goals.
Olimpia- Anthony Lozano
Olimpia will need to find ways to score tonight. For that, they will call upon Anthony Lazano, the second-highest scorer in Liga Nacional in Honduras. His eight goals on the year in the league, alongside his game-winning goal against Real Esteli last match, will be a good reason for the Sporting back line to keep an eye on him. Especially if we see Olimpia bunker tomorrow, keeping Lazano up top may allow him to counter and score a goal. Lazano could be the difference in who goes on to the knockout stage.
How they will Win
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting is in a very unique position for this match. Since Olimpia has to win in order to advance to the knockout round, they cannot afford to bunker down and park the bus. They are forced to spread the game out and try to attack. This is a style of play that Sporting's high-pressured offense is made to beat. Sporting needs to control the tempo, keep possession and systematically break down Olimpia's attack. The open style of play from Olimpia will make it seem like a road game for Sporting, where it seems they do better anyways.
Olimpia will come into this match desperate for a victory. They need to disrupt Sporting's tempo and possession in the midfield and force the game into Sporting's defensive half. They have good goal-scorers in Anthony Lazano and Roger Rojas, they just need as many opportunities to score as possibly. They need to be up-tempo and they need to pressurize Sporting's defense. Essentially, they need to rise up to the level of Sporting KC and beat them at their own game.
Sporting KC: Kronberg, Jerome, Opara, Collin, Bessone, Olum, Nagamura, Feilhaber, Saad, Dwyer, Peterson
Olimpia: Valladares, Portillo, Fonseca, Medina, Bermúdez, Méndez, Córdova, Tilguath, Will, Caetano, Bruschi