Sporting KC @ NE Revolution
Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 6:30 PM CT
38 The Spot | SKCTV | MLS Live
The MLS Cup Playoffs loom just around the corner as Sporting Kansas City are forced to play their second of three consecutive road games as the season winds down. Sporting have jumped over defending MLS Cup Champions, the Portland Timbers, for the fifth spot in the Western Conference as they currently have 43 points. They sit just two points out of fourth place, behind Real Salt Lake. A move to fourth would allow SKC a home playoff game, which they so desperately need.
They will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Revolution. The Revs (which I hate, like all things owned by Robert Kraft) currently have just 36 points and sit four points behind D.C. United for the final playoff spot in the East. That likely means New England will be desperate and they have won three of their last four. Sporting haven’t fared as well with just one win in their last four. And that win was an ugly one on the road in San Jose last week.
Sporting do whole the lead in the all-time series between these clubs (24-16-11) and even hold the lead in the series when playing on the road (11-9-6). Sporting also won the only meeting between these clubs in 2015, a 4-2 win at home. Beyond that, it gets more bleak. New England won the previous three meetings at Gillette Stadium, including frightening Sporting KC in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs that put them on the brink of defeat before they would rally to win 3-1 at home and eventually take the MLS Cup.
– Sporting KC: Roger Espinoza (yellow card accumulation)
– Revolution: None
Suspended Next Yellow Card:
– Sporting KC: Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda
– Revolution: Scott Caldwell
– Sporting KC:
OUT: Justin Mapp (left calf strain), Lawrence Olum (abdominal injury), Chance Myers (thigh strain), Cameron Porter (concussion)
OUT: Xavier Kouassi (right knee surgery), Gershon Koffie (right ankle sprain),
QUESTIONABLE: Je-Vaughn Watson (right groin strain), Kelyn Rowe (illness), Jose Goncalves (ankle sprain)
Sporting Kansas City’s Last Five: W/L/D/D/W (Eight Points)
New England's Last Five: L/W/W/W/L (Nine Points)
– Sporting KC: Dom Dwyer (15), Jacob Peterson/Benny Feilhaber (6)
– Revolution: Lee Nguyen (6), Juan Agudelo/Kei Kamara/Kelyn Rowe (5)
Starting XI Prediction:
Abdul-Salaam – Ellis – Besler – Medranda
Feilhaber – Mustivar – Nagamura
Peterson – Dwyer – Davis
Rest of the 18: Kann, Rubio, Opara, Sinovic, Hallisey, Coelho, Zusi
Predicting who is going to play on any given weekend is tough for Sporting KC. Peter Vermes likes to keep things unchanged, but he’ll be forced to make a move with Espinoza out. That will likely push Nagamura back into the midfield, after he oddly played in Feilhaber’s spot last weekend. Naga did get an assist but Benny really never stayed out wide.
I expect Brad Davis and Graham Zusi to split time at that vacated wing spot, though I still contend Diego Rubio may be the best option, despite the fact that he’s a center forward. I am reluctantly keeping Kevin Ellis in the starting lineup, as he did score and play pretty well as a center back last weekend, but I truly believe Coelho or Ike Opara are both better options next to Besler.
As for New England, they are hit pretty hard by injuries, especially is Kelyn Rowe is out with the illness he’s been dealing with. That said, they spread the ball around well and have lots of players capable of scoring goals, including former Sporting men Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury.
The Revs had a down match last when they slipped and fell against the Columbus Crew (who look unlikely to return to the playoffs after last years cup run). Before that, they had reeled off three straight victories. If you couple that with the fact that SKC are travelling from the far West to the far East part of the United States, Sporting could be in trouble.
SKC were in shambles against the Earthquakes but managed to pull off the late victory. I have little doubt they’ll find the net against the Revs who have a league worse minus 14 goal differential, but they’ll probably need to bag multiple goals to get all three points on the road. Sporting KC did break their 12-game road winless streak last week, but it feels like it’ll be the perfect setup for a let down this week.
Prediction: 2-1 New England Win
This will leave Sporting fighting for the playoffs on the road against Real Salt Lake and at home against a San Jose team with a bitter taste in their mouth after last weeks stunner.