Sporting KC v New England Revolution (#SKCvNE)
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 7:30 PM CT
Fox Sports KC | fuboTV (free trial) | MLS Live
Sporting Kansas City return home after a two-game road trip that netted just a single point in the standings. They sit on 41 points, all the way down in 4th place. That’s the final playoff spot that would guarantee a home game. The Vancouver Whitecaps shot past everyone in the West and are now first (!) on the heels of their 3-0 win on Wednesday.
The opponent for the weekend is the Revolution, who are coming off a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Atlanta United on Wednesday. During the game they managed to pick up two red cards from Baldomero Toledo, an infamous referee around these parts. Benny Feilhaber felt the need to chime in during the match, playing off the New England Patriots historic comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. And he’s right, all they needed was a touchdown and an extra point to mount the comeback.
Those red cards, which honestly didn’t feel that egregious to me, will leave the Revolution without two defensive starters. Xavier Kouassi, one of their holding midfielders and Antonio Delamea, a center back. What New England will lack in defense they will make up for in offense. While Fagundez and Nguyen were listed as questionable, they started Wednesday. The team also has former Sporting KC players Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and Krisztian Nemeth (who has yet to get a start).
To make matters worse for Sporting KC, they play the 2017 US Open Cup Final on Wednesday of next week, so there is a great deal of question about who could possibly play in this game and be ready to go for 90 (or 120) minutes on Wednesday. More on that in a minute.
There are lots of stats we can quote for this match. New England won the last meeting, 3-1 in October of last year. Sporting KC won the last meeting in KC, 4-2 in May of 2015 (with two Nemeth goals for SKC). Sporting are 4-1-2 all-time against the Revs in
Sporting Park Children’s Mercy Park. New England is 0-11-3 on the road in 2017, including six straight losses. Despite these stats, if Sporting put out a B-team lineup, none of it will matter.
OUT: Cameron Porter (broken fibula and ligament damage in right ankle), Soni Mustivar (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: Daniel Salloi (hip injury)
OUT: Kelyn Rowe (right knee sprain)
QUESTIONABLE: Diego Fagundez (right quad strain), Lee Nguyen (right hamstring strain)
Sporting KC - Roger Espinoza [yellow card accumulation]
Revolution - Xavier Kouassi, Antonio Mlinar Delamea [red cards]
Sporting KC - Last Five: D/L/W/L/D (5 Points)
Revolution - Last Five: L/L/W/W/L (6 Points)
- Sporting KC: Gerso Fernandes (7),
Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber (5), Latif Blessing (3), Daniel Salloi, Ike Opara, Diego Rubio (2)
- Revolution: Kei Kamara (11), Lee Nguyen (9), Juan Agudelo (8)
Starting XI Predictions
As desperately as Sporting KC need points, they have to want the US Open Cup Championship on Wednesday even more. History supports this. In 2015, on the eve of the 2015 US Open Cup final against the Philadelphia Union, Sporting KC put out a starting lineup that had basically no starters in (Trey Mitchell, a pool goalkeeper, was on the bench). Jacob Peterson was the captain that day and the Seattle Sounders played nearly all their starters. Somehow Sporting pulled out a draw.
The question becomes, who plays in this scenario since there are no veterans like Paulo Nagamura and Peterson to come in and rally the troops? I believe it will be a full B-Team that could even include someone like Kharlton Belmar, who isn’t even signed to Sporting KC as of the writing of this article, but could be signed by the end of today.
The only starter that feels probable to start is Tim Melia. Goalkeepers don’t need the kind of rest that field players do, but it wouldn’t stun me to see Adrian Zendejas get his first start. Another possibility is one of the wingers (Salloi or Blessing) but I’d save them for the Open Cup.
In 2015 Dom Dwyer was brought on in the 80th minute to make a difference. Starters will probably be on the bench for just this occasion, but SKC need to keep winning trophies and resting players seems like a must for that.
Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Ellis, Blessing, Rubio, Feilhaber, Salloi, Storm
[Update 9/16/17 @ 10:23AM: With the news that Soni Mustivar is out with an injury and the signing of Kevin Oliveira, I’ve tweaked the lineup to reflect that.]
[In the vote by you, the readers, the starters were overwhelming represented. Maybe you guys forgot about the Open Cup or maybe I’m super wrong about this. In that game in 2015 players like Jordi Quintilla made his first start and Bernardo Anor made his second. Quintilla had just been signed.]
The lineup above is a wild guess. Pasher has never started a game at left back (his one start is on the left wing and he was pulled at halftime). Amer Didic has never started but maybe he goes over Ellis who hasn’t even been in the 18 lately. It could be argued Colton Storm should start over the slumping SAS, but he’s a three-year veteran. Up top I have a player starting who isn’t even on the roster.
The New England Revolution are in 8th place and really need points to stay in the playoff chase. They are dynamic offensively and no matter the crowd support, if Sporting plays backups it seems like it would be a miracle to not give up some goals. Plus, SKC aren’t exactly known for their offensive prowess as of late.
Prediction: 2-0 New England Win
I really hope this doesn’t happen as a 15-month home unbeaten streak is on the line. But the Open Cup matters more.
I’m flying to KC on Tuesday to watch the game Wednesday. #WeWantTheCup