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Match Preview: Sporting Kansas City hosts FC Dallas in MLS home opener

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Sporting KC looks to get their first MLS result of the season as they take on FC Dallas in the MLS home opener.

USA TODAY Sports

About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City comes into this match off of a good result in midweek play. They were able to hold on for a 1-0 win over Cruz Azul and will hold that advantage going into the second leg in Mexico City next Wednesday. Due to this fact, Sporting may have more of a depleted lineup for this match in an effort to preserve stamina for the game on Wednesday. A starter likely to play, however, is Seth Sinovic since he is suspended for the Champions League match due to yellow card accumulation. The rest of the team, though, will be built so that they can succeed next Wednesday.

FC Dallas

New coach, new DP and a new attacking style have FC Dallas making some noise early in the MLS season. They outscored the Impact at First Kick 3-2 and had the best looking offense that they've had in years. They are led offensively by Mauro Diaz, who scored and had an assist in the first game of the season. They also have a strong midfield led by Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez leading the charge up top. Their defense is nothing special but they will be able to keep pressure on the Sporting KC back line.

Who to Watch For

Sporting Kansas City- CJ Sapong

CJ Sapong has not impressed thus far in 2014. He's been sluggish on the ball and has ran into mental errors such as the yellow card he received Wednesday by starting a confrontation. He was sent to Orlando City at one point last year and it may be in Peter Vermes' mind to send him to one of the affiliates again this year. He's most likely going to start to give Sal Zizzo and Graham Zusi the chance to rest for the second leg against Cruz Azul, so Sapong needs to go out and prove himself this game. Expect him to try to use his speed to challenge the FC Dallas back line on the side and to attempt to create some disruption in the box.

FC Dallas- Mauro Diaz

Mauro Diaz is one of the two FC Dallas DP's and showed why he was in the first game of the season. In FC Dallas' formation that match, he was able to control the midfield and to be a lethal presence in the attacking half. Sporting Kansas City is likely to be sitting Uri Rosell for this match in preparation of next week, so Diaz will be able to go against Olum instead of Rosell in the midfield, which gives the advantage to Diaz. If the majority of Sporting Kansas City's normal midfield is sitting, Diaz should have no problem taking over the game and being a nuisance to Sporting Kansas City.

How They Will Win

Sporting Kansas City

The good news for Sporting Kansas City is that they should have decent forward representation even with their starters sitting. Jacob Peterson, Dom Dwyer and CJ Sapong can provide a good attacking line and can put pressure on the Dallas back line. Sporting KC will be able to win this match if they can take the ball off the feet of Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo and continue to push as the Dallas defense. They should be able to knock in a goal or two if they can keep possession and keep the ball in the attacking half, which in turn would keep the ball out of the Dallas attack and would give Sporting an advantage.

FC Dallas

FC Dallas will come into this match with a midfield advantage if Sporting Kansas City decides to sit Rosell and either Feilhaber or Zusi. The midfield of Diaz and Castillo should be able to produce against Olum and Nagamura and they should be able to get the ball up to Perez. If they can overtake the midfield and control the match from there, they have a good enough attack to get a couple of chances. It all depends on them overtaking the midfield and not allowing Sporting a crack at their defense.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting KC: Kronberg; Jerome, Opara, Collin, Sinovic, Olum, Nagamura, Zusi, Peterson, Dwyer, Sapong

FC Dallas (From Brian Wachholz): Seitz, Hernandez, Hedges, Keel, Acosta, Thomas, Moffat, Castillo, Diaz, Watson, Perez

Scoreline

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 FC Dallas

Both teams will grab a lot of chances but will only be able to put a goal in a piece due to the conflicting styles that the two teams play.