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Sporting KC at FC Dallas: Preview, Predictions, Injuries & Starting XI

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On the road again. This time Sporting Kansas City are visiting the other undefeated team in the league.

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ FC Dallas

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 at 7:00 PM CT

Fox Sports KC+ | MLS Live | fuboTV

A little over a month ago Sporting Kansas City met FC Dallas in their home opener. Ugly soccer was played. Not by SKC, but by FC Dallas. Dallas had a CONCACAF Champions League game coming up, so instead of trying to come into Sporting Park Children’s Mercy Park and play for a victory, they trotted out a very young lineup (they are the youngest team in MLS) and parked the bus.

With the teams meeting in Texas for their second match-up, there should be anything but ugly soccer played. FC Dallas has a fully healthy team (outside of Mauro Diaz who is still recovering from an ACL tear last season, much like SKC’s Diego Rubio) and have no reason not to put out a premium lineup. SKC’s captain, Matt Besler, has already said the team will not park the bus but will look for a win on the road.

Both of these teams come in playing great soccer. They are the only two clubs left in Major League Soccer that are undefeated. Dallas sits a single point behind second place Sporting KC having played one fewer game. Unlike last week, when Sporting played a high scoring, and relatively leaky defensive Portland Timbers team, FC Dallas are staunch in the back. They’ve allowed just three goals, behind only Sporting KC (two goals allowed) for staunchest defense.

You like stats? Well there is more to know. Dallas has only allowed a single goal at home this season and stunningly Sporting haven’t allowed even one on the road. On the other end of the pitch Sporting have only a single road goal while Dallas have bagged four at home over two games.

If we look back a bit further the news doesn’t get better for SKC. Dallas have only lost once at home since the beginning of 2016 and a league best seven times at home since the start of 2014.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT: Diego Rubio (torn ACL)

QUESTIONABLE: None

FC Dallas

OUT: Mauro Diaz (torn Achilles tendon)

QUESTIONABLE: None

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None (Seth Sinovic suspended next yellow card)

Dallas - None

Recent Form

Sporting KC - Last Five: D/W/D/W/W (11 Points)

Dallas - Last Five: W/D/W/W/D (11 Points)

Leading Scorers

  • Sporting KC: Dom Dwyer (2), three others with one
  • Dallas: Maximiliano Urruti (3), Kellyn Acosta (2)

Starting XI Predictions

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Abdul-Salaam, Mustivar, Blessing, Ellis, Salloi, Saad

The old expression “if it ain’t broke” has to apply to the way Peter Vermes is thinking about this game and the lineup he’s likely to put out. There is no reason to believe it’ll be any different than it has been all season (besides that Feilhaber injury, which has mostly healed—leg brace aside).

The lineup I’m predicting above is the exact same lineup that you all voted for, though it should be noted Latif Blessing was only nine votes behind Jimmy Medranda to start on the wing. For my money that definitely won’t happen, but I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t get an appearance as a sub.

Speaking of substitutes, that’s something worth talking about. Peter Vermes has, maybe rightfully so, been stingy with putting on subs this season. I personally would like to see fresh legs by the 65th or 70th minute to keep stretching the defense on the wings and giving the midfield a break. The team keeps winning (or at least not losing) so maybe Vermes is right not to mess with the unity of the team. That said, the team is deeper than ever and over a long 34 game season it seems playing all 90 minutes every game could wear down relatively old team (at least in terms of the starters).

As for this game, it feels like a really touch challenge. If Sporting rise to it they have to be seen as the best team in the league. It will be a touch challenge to overcome. It isn’t like Dallas has good crowds in Frisco, but they find a way to win (or at least not lose) at home.

They also have one of the best center back pairings in all of MLS. As is evident by Opara and Besler’s play for SKC, a good center back pairing can make a huge difference. Another weird factor in this game in the possession stats for both clubs. Sporting clearly like to hold the ball and are currently eight in the league at 54 percent. Dallas on the other hand has been content to cede possession and counter as they are 21st in the league at a mere 40.3 percent of possession. Both teams will likely get what they want in that regard it’s just a matter of who can play their game better.

While Sporting have been pretty good on road with a 1-0 victory last week and a batch of 0-0 draws, Dallas just feels too dangerous too me.

Prediction: 1-0 FC Dallas Win

If it makes you feel any better predicting who is going to win a soccer match (or if there may be a draw) is really hard. Maybe Dom Dwyer will keep that scoring streak in tact and steal another three road points.