Sporting Kansas City returns to action tonight at 7 PM after almost two weeks off for the international break. They face longtime rival Houston at Children’s Mercy Park and will be looking to extend the home winning streak to a record tying seven straight wins at home.
Sporting KC is in fifth place and looking to climb the table while keeping separation from teams below them in the playoff race.
The Dynamo are in tenth place in the Western Conference (that is also known as last place) and with a pair of wins could climb into a tie for ninth (still in last place).
These two teams have history going back to knocking each other out of the playoffs and a number of physical games in the regular season with a few dramatic wins thrown in as well. With Dynamo hero Brad Davis in blue now and Houston taking two from Kansas City in Houston already this year, Sporting KC will be looking to even the score at home.
International break brought rest and a baby
A lot of Sporting KC’s players got some rest during the break and Manager Peter Vermes will have almost a full squad to choose from for his lineup. Only Justin Mapp and Lawrence Olum are out for injury and Jimmy Medranda is out for red card suspension.
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi both started for the U.S. on September 2nd when the defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6-0. Besler scored his first international goal on the same day his wife delivered their first baby. Besler flew home to join his now larger family and Zusi stayed with U.S. but did not play Tuesday night so he should be rested and ready to go as well.
With an almost full roster to choose from Vermes can tinker if he wants but will likely go with a strong, regular lineup Friday and switch a few around for the CCL match with Vancouver next Tuesday.
At forward Zusi and Dwyer would be likely to start but will Vermes run Davis out against his former club or go with Jacob “The Answer” Peterson as the other forward? Peterson has scored more than anyone other than Dwyer and Feilhaber but is still seen as more of a defensive forward. With Dwyer’s wife also expecting a baby any day there is of course a chance that Rubio could start in the center slot.
The normal midfield of Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza and Soni Mustivar is probably a good bet to get the start but healthy Nagamura is a possibility and could be a second half sub if Vermes needs to shake it up.
On defense some combination of Besler, Opara and Coelho at center back with Saad Abdul-Salaam on the right and Sinovic or Alvarado at left back.
Perhaps the biggest question will be in goal. Tim Melia is cleared to play and he did get a rehab game in with the Swope Park Rangers a few days ago but did not look especially sharp in that match. Melia will probably be back in goal but Kann could get the start again.
Forecast indicate a decent chance of rain/thunderstorms around game time so bring a jacket and have phones fully charged in case of lightening delay.
· 2016 MLS record: 5-11-10, 25 points (10th in West)
· 2016 MLS road record: 1-9-3 (11 GF, 20 GA)
· Last five games: 1-2-2, 5 points (L-T-W-T-L)
· Last MLS match: Lost 3-1 vs. FC Dallas on Aug. 27
Sporting Kansas City
· 2016 MLS record: 11-12-5, 38 points (5th in West)
· 2016 MLS home record: 9-4-1 (23 GF, 14 GA)
· Last five games: 2-2-1, 7 points (W-L-T-W-L)
· Last MLS match: Lost 2-0 at Philadelphia Union on Aug. 27