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Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo: Preview, Predictions, Injuries & Starting XI

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Sporting KC needs a result against the Dynamo to clinch an MLS Cup playoff berth

MLS: Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC vs Houston Dynamo (SKCvHOU)

Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 6:30 PM CT

Fox Sports KC | MLS Live

There have been root canals more pleasant than this past week in Kansas City soccer. The match on Wednesday between Sporting Kansas City and Houston offered a very different look than we will see on Sunday but the loss still stung as it was self-inflicted with an own goal. It also contributed to Sporting KC’s abysmal road record as they fell to 2-7-7 away.

There is good news to be had, however. In this return match between Sporting KC and the Dynamo, they go to Children’s Mercy Park, where Sporting KC is an astounding 10-1-5 on the year. Sporting will also see the return of national team stars Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, and Benny Feilhaber.

Sporting KC will still be without starting keeper Tim Melia, so Andrew Dykstra, the backup keeper who got the starting nod on Wednesday, will likely be the starter once again.

As for Houston, their win against Sporting KC went a long way in helping them secure a playoff spot as they moved four points up on seventh-place Real Salt Lake. A win for either of these teams would be huge as the season comes to a close.

Houston are first in the Western Conference in goals scored, led by Erick “Cubo” Torres’ 14 goals, meaning Sporting KC really needs a strong defensive showing to defeat the Dynamo.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT: Cameron Porter (broken fibula and ligament damage in right ankle), Tim Melia (Hamstring Strain)

QUESTIONABLE: None

Houston

OUT: George Malki (ACL), Boniek Garcia (right knee), Memo Rodriguez (right knee)

Probable: Philippe Senderos (right adductor strain)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - Kevin Ellis (technically Ellis and the team have agreed he’ll step away temporarily)

Houston - None

Recent Form

Sporting KC - Last Five: W/W/L/T/L (8 Points)

Houston - Last Five: L/T/T/W/W (8 Points)

Leading Scorers

  • Sporting KC: Gerso Fernandes (8), Diego Rubio (6) Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, (5), Latif Blessing, Daniel Salloi (3), Ike Opara, Jimmy Medranda (2)
  • Houston: Erik Torres (14), Alberth Ellis (10), Mauro Manotas (6)

Starting XI Predictions

With the international matches completed, Sporting KC should have their normal outfield players for this match as Besler, Zusi, and Feilhaber return to the lineup. Dykstra should get the starting nod at keeper again unless Peter Vermes absolutely hated his performance earlier in the week.

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Salloi, Oliveira, Didic, Medranda, Saad, Mustivar

Sporting KC really need this win to keep their hopes of a playoff bye alive. The memories of faltering late in the year for the past few seasons has conditioned fans to expect the same to happen again. A win against another probable playoff team at home would go a long way to allay those fears, especially as there are only two matches to go.

Expect Sporting KC’s defense to be tighter with the return of two starting defenders and the attack on the right to be better with Zusi coming up the sideline.

Prediction: 2-1 Sporting KC Win

Matches against Houston are always frustrating but I believe Sporting KC will be rejuvenated by the return of Besler, Zusi, and Feilhaber. Houston is a good team that will capitalize on mistakes, but I do think the quality of Sporting KC’s play will rise with their starting lineup, save for Melia, back to complete.

Who do you think will start? Who do you think should start? And what is your prediction for an outcome? Let us know in the comments.