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Match Preview: Sporting Kansas City attempts to stop skid against Toronto FC

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After two straight losses, Sporting KC will try to get back on the right track as they welcome Toronto FC to Sporting Park.

"Your hand tastes like overhype and maple syrup"
"Your hand tastes like overhype and maple syrup"
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City had one of the worst weeks last week, first losing to the Philadelphia Union in a 2-1 upset loss at home. In the time between that match and the Chicago match, Sporting KC lost Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin and Lawrence Olum to various things, meaning 17 year old Erik Palmer-Brown had to start against Chicago. He was eventually sent off in the 2-1 loss to Chicago, meaning he is unavailable for Sporting KC for this match. The home side will be without any natural centerbacks against Toronto.

Toronto FC

The Reds have some shiny new tools to play with in Jermaine Defoe, Julio Cesar and Michael Bradley and the beginning of the season looked really good for the reformed Toronto squad. Then the Reds lost three straight and now are left without Michael Bradley and Julio Cesar to national team duty. However, they are coming off a 2-0 win over New York where Defoe looked good with a goal. This team is good on offense and can definitely take advantage of a limping Sporting Kansas City defense.

Who to Watch

Sporting Kansas City- Igor Juliao

With Myers most likely moving to centerback for this match, Juliao is going to get another start at fullback against Toronto. In his MLS debut last week, Juliao looked good but definitely looked like someone making a debut in a league. The 19-year-old will be going up against one of the better offenses in the league and will need to be on his best to stay off the Red's offense. It'll be interesting to see if Toronto tries to attack the inexperienced Juliao or the experienced by out-of-position centerbacks.

Toronto FC- Jermaine Defoe

Defoe was left off the England squad for the World Cup, meaning he is available to terrorize the MLS with his goal-scoring abilities. In the five games he's played, he's scored four goals and is recently coming off a match with a goal against New York. With the makeshift defense that Sporting Kansas City is going to throw out, Defoe is going to have a good opportunity to take advantage of the adjustment and to continue his torrid run through the league.

Why They'll Win

Sporting Kansas City

Toronto FC is a lot like Chicago where they have a good offense but their defense is a bit leaky. They have a goal differential of 0 and -1 on the road, meaning they are letting in as many goals as they typically score. This bodes well for Sporting KC because, despite losing to Chicago, they were able to control the match and were a couple of calls going the other way from drawing or winning in the Windy City. If Sporting Kansas City can put in a similar performance to Sunday without giving up penalties or getting a centerback sent off, they should be fine.

Toronto FC

The Sporting KC back line is going to give up goals this game, probably going back to a 4-3-3 with the lack of true centerbacks for this match. They won't be able to use five in the midfield to control possession like against Chicago, meaning more possession for Toronto, meaning more chances for Defoe to score. The Reds are going to get a lot of opportunities to make this a high-scoring affair for them while keeping the home side away from scoring opportunties.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting Kansas City: Kronberg - Juliao, Myers, Ellis, Sinovic - Martinez, Nagamura, Feilhaber - Saad, Dwyer, Zizzo.

Toronto FC (From Duncan Fletcher): Bendik; Bloom, Caldwell, Hagglund, Morrow; Rey, Warner, Bekker, Jackson; Defoe, Gilberto.

Scoreline

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Toronto FC

This game does not inspire confidence for the home side with the back line still in shambles and the way Defoe has been playing. Should be close but Toronto pulls it out in the end.