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Match Preview: Sporting Kansas City at New York City FC

Sporting KC looks for their first win as they travel to the "House that David Villa Rents" to take on New York City FC.

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About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC have looked lackluster in their first three matches. Their front line has been isolated and there hasn't been much distribution from the middle of the field. Benny Feilhaber has been pushed back to defensive midfielder and with Krisztian Nemeth out, there isn't an attacking midfielder. We'll see how that changes tonight with a couple of players out on international duty. Midfielder Roger Espinoza and leftback Marcel de Jong are with Honduras and Canada respectively, meaning the lineups are going to have to adjust to not having them, which could mean a switch in where Feilhaber plays.

New York City FC

The Sky Blues are off to a great start in their inaugural season. In three games they haven't lost and were able to take three points in their home opener against the New England Revolution. They lead the East in this young season and will have mostly a full squad to try to stay undefeated given that Mix Diskerud was not called up to the USMNT. Their defense, however, will see some changes with Sebastian Velasquez out for certain and Josh Williams questionable.

Who to Watch

Sporting Kansas City- Seth Sinovic

With Marcel de Jong playing for Canada this weekend, Sinovic will return to the starting lineup as left back. This could end up being a good match for Sinovic to play given his defensive abilities. The smaller pitch at Yankee Stadium means the play is going to be more in the middle and, while the fullbacks are still going to be making their overlapping runs down the flank, the offense won't be as important from the fullbacks and Sinovic can focus more on shutting down the corners, which is something he excels at.

New York City FC- Josh Saunders

Saunders has been lights out for NYCFC, making crucial saves in all three of his games so far. The only goal that has been allowed by the Sky Blues was a deflected free kick in the opener against Orlando City and Saunders has been a big reason why. Tonight he'll have to deal with an adjusted back line with Velasquez out and Williams likely out but if he can be as spectacular as he's been this season, especially against a struggling Sporting KC offense, then NYCFC has a great chance of winning this one.

Why They'll Win

Sporting Kansas City

This game is going to be won in the middle of the pitch and through building up plays in the middle. That means Sporting KC is going to have to do well in their midfield and get the ball to Dwyer where he isn't so isolated. The entirety of the offense has come through the wings in the first three matches and Sporting are going to have to use the smaller pitch to get the game into the middle, have the wings cut in, and, most importantly, score. This is going to be game with the potential to be high-scoring, Sporting KC can't miss out on that.

New York City FC

As said above, this game is going to come down to who is able to distribute from the midfield. With Espinoza out, NYCFC have a great chance to use their midfield personnel to overwhelm the visitors. Mix is going to play a large part in this game and will likely be man-marked by Benny Feilhaber like Diego Chara was last week. If Mix can shake off Feilhaber and be a force or if him being marked allows Andrew Jacobson and Jeb Brovsky more room to create then NYCFC is not going to have a hard time getting the ball to their goal-scorers in David Villa and Adam Nemec.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting Kansas City: Marin; Sinovic, Besler, Opara, Anibaba; Carrasco, Nagamura, Feilhaber; Medranda, Dwyer, Zusi

New York City FC: Saunders; Brovsky, Wingert, Hernandez, Ballouchy; Jacobson, Diskerud, Grabavoy, Calle; Villa, Mullins

Scoreline