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Match Preview: Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union

Can Sporting KC jump-start their lackluster offense against a struggling Philadelphia Union team?

Gary Rohman/Sporting KC-USA TODAY Sports

About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC got their first win of the season last week by holding off NYCFC after Ike Opara scored an early goal to put SKC in the lead. In four matches so far they are still without a goal from a forward and Graham Zusi has been ruled out for this match so Sporting KC is going to appear to have limited production from the wing. Good news is that Krisztian Nemeth will likely be back so he could play a role on the wing with Zusi out and with Medranda's decent play from the past couple of weeks, Sporting could still expect production from the flanks.

Philadelphia Union

Sporting has had their troubles scoring but the Philadelphia Union have had it worse. They've been shut out three times already this year and without CJ Sapong they can't run a two-striker formation which isolates Fernando Aristeguieta and keeps the Union's attack neutralized. Cristian Maidana and Conor Casey are also out for the Union as they search for their first win of the year.

Who to Watch

Sporting Kansas City- Jimmy Medranda

Medranda has been a pleasant surprise so far in 2015, coming on as a spot starter on the wing and doing fairly decent both driving the ball down the side and sending in service via crosses. With Sporting KC's inability to build up through the middle so far this season, the production of the wings is growing to be more and more important and if Medranda can keep the production up Sporting KC have a good chance of finally putting one in from his service.

Philadelphia Union- Maurice Edu

Edu has been playing as a defensive midfielder from the Union and will likely be in a tandem with Michael Lahoud in the middle of the pitch. With two Union defensive midfielders and Roger Espinoza and Paulo Nagamura likely pairing up as box-to-box midfielders, there's going to be a little void in between the two sides that will be fought over by the respective tandems. Edu will likely have to fight Espinoza for possession and will have to keep him from destroying the Union's attack through the middle.

Why They'll Win

Sporting Kansas City

Philadelphia simply does not have the offense for Sporting KC to be worried with the defensive personnel Sporting KC has. While Sporting's offense has been struggling, they have been decent on getting good chances on set pieces and the Union have been lackluster on defending set pieces. Even if the Union sit back and park the bus, Sporting should have enough chances on set pieces to put one on goal and get three points.

Philadelphia Union

The Union haven't been able to score much but they also do have quality play on the wings, where the 4-3-3 formation doesn't exactly have a presence in the middle. If Le Toux can be a force on the side and really cause problems for Marcel de Jong, who has a bit of a hamstring injury and isn't exactly adjusted to Sporting KC defensively yet, the Union might be able to spring a counter and get a quick goal against Sporting KC.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting KC: Marin; de Jong, Besler, Opara, Anibaba; Feilhaber, Espinoza, Nagamura; Anor, Dwyer, Medranda

Philadelphia Union: M'Bolhi; Fabinho, Vitoria, White, Gaddis; Edu, Lahoud; Wenger, Nogueira, Le Toux; Aristeguieta

Scoreline