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Sporting KC v Columbus Crew: Preview, Predictions, Injuries & Starting XI

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MLS: Sporting KC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew SC

#SKCvCLB

Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 5 p.m. CT

Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas

2018 MLS Regular Season | Game 13 of 34

Two MLS originals with similar records meet Sunday as Children’s Mercy Park. Both teams enter the match with 24 points and an undefeated streak. Columbus Crew SC (7-3-3) come to Kansas City not having lost since April 14th, a streak of 6 matches. Sporting KC (7-2-3) has not lost in the last three. The only loss since the opener was the 1-0 loss in New England.

Sporting KC are sitting on top of the Western Conference four points clear of FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC. The Crew are tied for second in the Eastern Conference with New York City FC, just a point behind Atlanta United FC.

Both teams are in the top 5 of possession and passing and have tried to control the pace of their respective games. SKC Manager Peter Vermes told reporters that he expected Columbus to come to play, something not all teams do when visiting Sporting KC.

Sporting KC will still be without Felipe Gutierrez while he recovers from surgery on his sports hernia-like injury. SKC could be missing Jimmy Medranda who left the Minnesota game with a knee injury. If Medranda can not go, Manager Peter Vermes could go with either Seth Sinovic or Cristian Loboto. Kansas City native Sinovic has been a regular starter at left back and is the better defender. Loboto could be the better player in possession and in the attack but not as good a defender.

The front line has steadily been Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton and Johnny Russell and barring an unknown injury/illness, those three will likely be up top again. Shelton finally came through with a long anticipated goal last week.

In Gutierrez’s absence, Yohan Croizet has been the regular presence at attacking mid. While he has not been as spectacular as Gutierrez, Croizet has been able to help the team get the job done so far and is slowly growing into the role. It would be a surprise for Roger Espinoza or Ilie Sanchez to not start.

The backline should remain consistent with the exception of either Sinovic or Loboto replacing Medranda. SKC captain Matt Besler and Ike Opara in the center and Graham Zusi on the right with Tim Melia in the net.

Predictions: So much will depend on who scores first (of course). Both teams will want to play and not bunker so the first goal will set the tone. Neither team is tearing up the goals lately but this could easily be a game where two teams just go for it.

SKC 2 -2 Columbus

(for the record I hate doing predictions)

Sporting Kansas City

· Suspended: None

· Suspended after next caution: None

· International duty: None

· Injury Report: OUT: M - Felipe Gutierrez (sports hernia surgery), D - Colton Storm (ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: D - Jimmy Medranda (undisclosed injury)

Projected Starting XI

(4-3-3, right to left)

GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic — Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Yohan Croizet — Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi

Columbus Crew SC

· Suspended: None

· Suspended after next caution: D - Milton Valenzuela

· International duty: None

· Injury Report: OUT: M - Pedro Santos (right thigh injury)

Projected Starting XI

(4-2-3-1, right to left)

GK: Zack Steffen — Milton Valenzuela, Lalas Abubakar, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful — Artur, Wil Trapp — Luis Argudo, Federico Higuain, Niko Hansen — Gyasi Zardes

All-Time Series

· Overall: Sporting Kansas City 25 wins, 85 goals … Columbus Crew SC 22 wins, 84 goals … 7 ties

· At Kansas City: Sporting 14 wins, 44 goals .. Crew SC 9 wins, 40 goals … 2 ties

· Last meeting at Kansas City: Sporting Kansas City 3, Columbus Crew SC 2 (July 3, 2016)

Broadcast Schedule:

English TV | FS1

Spanish TV | FOX Deportes

English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB

Spanish Radio | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM

Mobile | FOX Sports GO, Sporting KC Uphoria

Officials

Referee: Robert Sibiga

Assistant Referees: Jason White, Kevin Klinger

4th Official: Daniel Radford

VAR: Jorge Gonzalez