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Sporting KC v FC Dallas: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

One game to go. Send in the kids (for real this time, please)!

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City
Is Acosta backhanding his own face?
Peter G. Aiken

Sporting KC @ FC Dallas (#DALvSKC)

When: Sunday, October 6th, 2019 at 3:00 PM CT

Where: Toyota Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: Fox Sporting KC | Fox Sports Midwest | ESPN+
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM

Welp. This is it for Sporting Kansas City’s season. After a disappointing 2019 season, there remains just one game on the schedule. SKC were long ago (two games is a long time, right?) eliminated from the playoffs and Decision Day is all that stands between fans and a 4-5 month offseason. Enjoy this last one before it’s gone.

Despite the disappointment for Sporting’s players and fans, the game still has meaning. FC Dallas reside in the 7th and final playoff spot and 8th place San Jose Earthquakes and 9th place Colorado Rapids (!) can still leap them into the playoffs. Here is how Dallas can clinch a spot in the postseason:

  • A win over Sporting, OR
  • A draw if San Jose loses or ties at Portland, OR
  • A loss if San Jose loses at Portland and Colorado loses or ties at LAFC

So SKC winning won’t eliminate Dallas, but it will sure make it easier for them to miss the playoffs. That means Dallas will have everything to play for on Sunday. Dallas are on a bit of a skid themselves over their last four (0-2-2) including a loss last weekend to Colorado by a score of 3-0.

Sporting know a thing or two about skids. They are winless in five straight (0-4-1) and have dropped a total of 14 points across those five games. SKC would be at 52 points instead of 38, which is good enough for fourth (higher when you factor in Minnesota United and the LA Galaxy would be down three points — making SKC 3rd). Oh how the final month of the season could have been so different.

Interesting Stats

  • Last October SKC won 3-0 in Dallas (their last meeting in Texas).
  • Sporting Kansas City are just 2-5-3 in their last 10 games at Toyota Stadium dating back to 2011.
  • The home side in this series has lost the last three meetings between these clubs.

For more interesting stats, check out By the Numbers over at the club’s official site.

What’s changed for Dallas since these clubs met last?

Since their meeting on July 20th, Dallas have made just two moves. They loaned out midfielder (and supposed Mauro Diaz replacement) Pablo Aranguiz to Union Española (Chile). And they added MLS veteran Eric Alexander after he was released by FC Cincinnati.

For all the moves from before that meeting and the 2018-19 offseason, check our our initial preview of the series.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT - Rodney Wallace (hip injury), Andreu Fontas (Achilles), Benny Feilhaber (quad strain),

QUESTIONABLE - Adrian Zendejas (back)

Dallas

OUT - Brandon Servania (concussion), Bryan Reynolds (knee injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Eric Alexander (adductor strain)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - Roger Espinoza & Ilie [red cards]

Dallas - None

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS - Felipe Gutierrez (12), Johnny Russell (9), Krisztian Nemeth (8), Gianluca Busio, Yohan Croizet (3), Erik Hurtado, Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber, Gerso (2), Graham Smith, Botond Barath, Daniel Salloi (1)

*You may have heard, Salloi scored for the first time in 10 months. Both of those goals were against the Portland Timbers and both were through Zarek Valentin’s legs. Curse lifted?

ASSISTS - Johnny Russell (9), Gerso Fernandes (6), Ilie Sanchez (5), Felipe Gutierrez, Roger Espinoza (3), Graham Zusi, Yohan Croizet, Kelyn Rowe, Krisztian Nemeth, Benny Feilhaber (2), Nicolas Hasler, Seth Sinovic, Gianluca Busio, Graham Smith, Jimmy Medranda, Daniel Salloi (1)

Dallas

GOALS - Jesus Ferreira (7), Dominique Badji, Ryan Hollingshead (6), Zdenek Odrasek, Reto Ziegler (5), Michael Barrios (4), four with two, four with one

ASSISTS - Barrios (13), Paxton Pomykal, Ferreira (5), Badji, Hollingshead (3), three with two, five with one

Starting XI Predictions

I already put a quick 800 words towards the midfield. Please check that out for that breakdown.

With Espinoza and Ilie suspended, it doesn’t just disrupt the midfield. It changes who plays center back (that felt weird to write). With Ilie having gotten all those minutes since Matt Besler saw red against Colorado, it’s time to find a replacement. It seems only logical that Bes will step back into his starting role. I expect Botond Barath beside him since Graham Smith has reappeared with SPR.

At fullback, I expect no changes even though I wouldn’t be opposed to switching them both. Seth Sinovic in for Luis Martins just in case this is Sinovic’s last appearance for SKC (his contract has an option for 2020 but the team can decline it). And Jaylin Lindsey in for Zusi at right back. Despite my desire to see these things, I suspect nothing will.

Up front Johnny Russell is the only consistent starter. Nemeth and Hurtado have rotated much like Salloi and Gerso have. For consistency, I’ll guess it’s Nemeth and Salloi again but it’s a real toss-up at this point.

In goal, since Zendejas may still not be 100%, Tim Melia probably starts yet again.

Rest of the 18: Dick, Smith, Medranda, Hurtado, Lindsey, Kuzain, Gerso

The Rangers play at the Hartford Athletic on Saturday night. Watch that lineup to know who is very unlikely to be in Dallas come Sunday.

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote was a little more stable this week but I liked the format on the last preview, so here are the results of players above 10% in the voting (starters in italics).

GOALKEEPERS

Melia (81.5%), Dick (13%)

DEFENDERS

Barath (88.9%), Besler (83.3%), Martins (75.9%), Lindsey (51.9%), Zusi (38.9%), Sinovic (20.4%), Smith (16.7%)

MIDFIELDERS

Busio (88.9%), Gutierrez (81.5%), Medranda (48.1%), Zelalem (27.8%), Hernandez (25.9%), Feilhaber (16.7%)

WINGERS

Russell (81.5%), Salloi (70.4%), Gerso (38.9%)

CENTER FORWARD

Nemeth (57.4%), Hurtado (31.5%)

Prediction

At this point, I can’t expect anything other than dropped points. I’m hoping for a Hernandez start and a mind blowing game to leave us on a high note for the offseason. My brain says no, but my heart says yes. Hernandez starts and scores on the way to victory (these predictions are garbage, we all know that).

3-2 Sporting KC Win

What do you think? Predictions in the comments for both lineups and results are welcome. We can’t quite tell who you voted for in our other poll, so let us know why we are wrong (or right) on our Starting XI.

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