Sporting Kansas City have struggled this season, and there's no doubt about that. But the Open Cup is a whole new opportunity. Need an example? Look at Philadelphia Union last year. They were 4-9-3 (similar to Sporting KC's current 5-8-3), and went on a magical run to the final, before falling to SKC. This just proves that no matter your form in MLS you can still have a shot at winning some hardware. This is not to say that SKC won't be looking to turn it around and start racking up some wins in MLS, but in order to do so they will need to stay fresh. Sporting KC doesn't want to start racking up injuries similar to last year, and so you might see some Swope Park Ranger loans for this up coming match. Here are three that I wouldn't be at all surprised by.
To put it simply this guy has been on fire for Swope Park Rangers in the past couple games. He can play as a box to box midfielder, but also possesses some great play making ability. Oliveira did come off the bench in SPR's last game against Vancouver Whitecaps 2, but this was after playing a midweek game against a very good Rio Grande Valley team. In the game against Rio Grande Valley Oliveira scored and had three assists, making him an easy candidate for USL Team of the Week. Benny Feilhaber has struggled a lot with creating chances, leading to a lot of offensive struggles. Rewarding Oliveira for his great form and work would be a nice sight to see.
Soni Mustivar will be coming back from international duty, but I highly doubt Peter Vermes would just throw him back into the line up. Also let's be honest, Lawrence Olum hasn't been impressive at defensive mid for Sporting. Ualefi was shaky at the beginning of the season, but has really come on as of late. Ualefi does a great job of shielding the defense, similar to the way Mustivar does. When Ualefi does break up a play he almost always tries to find an outlet as quick as possible, also very Mustivar like. The key to Sporting KC teams has always been the defensive mid, and I'll be very disappointed if Vermes runs Olum out yet again.
Speed on the wing. When was the last time that we as SKC fans saw that? That is exactly what Tyler Pasher possesses. Pasher not only has a quick first step, but also that top gear that the wingers for Sporting KC just don't have. I would love to see Pasher just blazing up down that left wing, giving Sporting KC something they haven't really had much of this season, wing play. Most of the time SKC wingers are looking to cut in and have a shot, rather get to the line and send in a cross. This is Pasher's bread and butter, but this also means we'll need more runners in the box than just Dwyer.
Sporting KC have always been known for taking the U.S. Open Cup very seriously, where as other clubs haven't. With SKC struggling with league form, this could also be a opportunity to get some confidence for these upcoming league games. To me this seems like a perfect opportunity to reward some guys that have been doing well in USL, and to also protect some of those more valuable pieces for a season that still has five and a half months left.