About the Teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City has had its share of frustrating matches this past month. They are winless in their last four matches and still have a precarious defending situation with a majority of their centerbacks out because of injury. Fortunately for them, Aurelien Collin returned Tuesday night and looked good off of his hamstring injury and Lawrence Olum will be back for next week's match. Kevin Ellis will likely have to fill the centerback role for today alongside Collin. Uri Rosell is also likely to be out for this match, meaning Alex Martinez probably gets another start in the midfield.
DC United have turned it around after their horrendous 2013 campaign. They currently sit third in the Eastern Conference and have one of the better defenses in the league with 14 goals allowed on the year, good for a +3 goal differential. Bobby Boswell has been a great addition for them on defense and Fabian Espindola has been an assist and goal machine this year. Eddie Johnson hasn't turned out the way they had hoped so far but he will be available tonight after having his red card rescinded and is always a threat to score.
Who to Watch
Sporting Kansas City- Igor Juliao
Juliao has been thrust into a starting role with Chance Myers out for the year. Fortunately for Sporting Kansas City, he has looked very good so far. His speed has been a valuable asset coming up as a wingback and allows him to track back quickly to help defend the counter. His defense has been about average but has been good enough for the role he needs to play. He'll be very important in this match trying to crack the DC United defense while also being fast enough to stop Espindola and Johnson/Rolfe on the other end.
DC United- Bobby Boswell
After being selected in the re-entry draft this past December, he has been a huge part in DC United's defensive turnaround. Along with notching a couple assists and a goal, Boswell has been a brick wall on the defensive end, which will be crucial against Sporting Kansas City's attack. The biggest matchup today will be Dwyer and Boswell in the center of the pitch because if Boswell can contain Dwyer and not allow the wingers to get the ball to the middle, DC United's strong defensive performance at home this season will continue.
Why They Will Win
Sporting Kansas City
While DC United has looked good defensively, they still have a weakness through the middle of the midfield. The midfield hasn't exactly worked in tandem with the defense this season so if Sporting KC can exploit that and overwhelm the center defense, they should be able to get the chances they need. With Benny Feilhaber attacking the center of the pitch and Dwyer ahead of him, Sporting KC should be able to get some chances and score.
One of the biggest things DC United did this offseason was rebuilding their attack. Fabian Espindola has been a great addition so far with five assists and six goals, Chris Rolfe is always deadly on the attack and Eddie Johnson always has the potential to reach Grown-Ass-Man levels. With Igor Juliao and Kevin Ellis making up half of Sporting KC's defense this evening, the DC United attack should be able to get more than enough chances to put away the tattered Sporting Kansas City side.
Sporting Kansas City: Kronberg; Juliao, Collin, Ellis, Sinovic; Martinez, Nagamura, Feilhaber; Dovale, Dwyer, Zizzo
DC United (from Ben Bromley): Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke, Cristian Fernandez; Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe; Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson