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Updated: Sporting KC v LA Galaxy: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

We try to predict how SKC will deal with a mere two days rest heading into Wednesdays pivotal Western Conference matchup.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken

Sporting KC v LA Galaxy (#SKCvLA)

When: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 7:30 PM CT

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

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

[This story was updated at 11:50 PM on May 28th. The remainder of the story is unchanged except the updated injury report and the suspension to Nemeth that was just confirmed today.]

Sporting Kansas City welcome the Carson Los Angeles Galaxy to CMP on the heels of a thrilling 3-2 win over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. The Galaxy also played this weekend, but they got two more days of rest as they beat Orlando City SC on Friday by the scoreline of 1-0.

The win for Sporting KC was their first in nearly two months since they crushed the Montreal Impact 7-1 on March 30th. The Galaxy were in a rough stretch as well having lost four straight games before eeking out the victory in Orlando on Friday. That win moved the LA Galaxy back into third place in the Western Conference (8-5-1, 25 points) while SKC held steady at 11th (!) with just 14 points on the season (3-4-5 — though it should be said they have two or more games in hand on quite a few teams).

One positive for SKC when you look at the Western Conference Standings is that they are the only team outside of the top five with a positive goal differential (though it’s just plus one).

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting KC haven’t lost in eight straight appearances against the Galaxy (4-0-4)
  • The Galaxy have in fact never won at Children’s Mercy Park (0-4-4)
  • Sunday’s hat-trick-hero Johnny Russell scored in both meetings against the Galaxy last season, including a late goal to level the last meeting 1-1 in the rain.

For more interesting stats check out By the Numbers on the team’s official site.

What’s Changed for the Galaxy in 2019?

The biggest change from 2018 to 2019 is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who apparently SKC inquired about getting) moved from being a Targeted Allocation Money signing to a Designated Player. Because of that Giovani dos Santos had his huge contract bought out to avoid having 4 DPs on the Galaxy roster. That was a nice change as everyone just assumed Major League Soccer would once against change the rules to favor the Galaxy. For once they didn’t.

Los Angeles have made quite a few additions to their roster to help boost a team that finished below the red line, despite having The Zlatan. They brought back Juninho on a free transfer. They currently have 21-year-old midfielder Uriel Antuna on loan from back-to-back English Premier League Champions Manchester City.

They also brought in United States international Joe Corona via transfer from Club Tijuana (Liga MX). They added Giancarlo Gonzalez via the allocation process as he previously was sold by Columbus Crew SC overseas. And just before the primary transfer window closed LA made a loan for Favio Alvarez who is a winger from Atletico Tucuman (Argentina). Alvarez replaces the injured Alessandrini out wide.

The biggest loss outside of Gio dos Santos is striker Ola Kamara who went to China to get paid. They also lost MLS veterans Baggio Husidic, Michael Ciani and Sheannon Williams. Former England National Team Ashley Cole also left the team.


Sporting KC

OUT - Erik Hurtado (knee surgery and wrist surgery), Jaylin Lindsey (torn meniscus and wrist surgery), Rodney Wallace (hip injury), Roger Espinoza (PCL), Gerso Fernandes (broken wrist)

QUESTIONABLE - Daniel Salloi (groin injury), Graham Zusi (oblique injury), Andreu Fontas (calf injury), Kuzain (ankle injury), Matt Besler (fatigue)

[Updated 5/28: Kuzain and Zusi moved to questionable. Besler’s questionable status confirmed. Gerso still confirmed as out.]


OUT - Romain Alessandrini (knee surgery)



Sporting KC - Krisztian Nemeth (announced Tuesday)

Galaxy - None (Zlatan’s two game suspension just ended)


Sporting KC

GOALS - Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell (7), Felipe Gutierrez (4), Gianluca Busio (3), Ilie Sanchez (1)

ASSISTS - Johnny Russell (3), Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Graham Zusi, Yohan Croizet, Ilie Sanchez, Kelyn Rowe (2), Felipe Gutierrez, Krisztian Nemeth, Nicolas Hasler (1)


GOALS - Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9), Daniel Steres (3), Jonathan dos Santos, Uriel Antuna (2), Chris Pontius, Sebastian Lletget (1)

ASSISTS - Diego Polenta (3), Pontius, Zlatan, Rolf Feltscher, Lletget (2), Six players (1)

Starting XI Predictions

For four straight games Sporting KC haven’t had enough players to fill out an 18-player team sheet. With three games in seven days (Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo) there almost has to be some squad rotation though.

The official injury report from last weekend saw quite a few players move from ‘out’ to ‘questiontionable.’ Even with players coming back, they are almost certainly not 90 minutes fit. Jimmy Medranda got on the field for the first time since May 20, 2018 against Minnesota United. That said, there is no way he is ready to play a full game or even start. If he was ready by Saturday against Houston that would be stunning.

One player who probably needs to be rotated is Captain Matt Besler. He somehow got through 79 minutes on Sunday despite going down twice holding his hamstring. The same one that caused him to miss three games after getting injured against the San Jose Earthquakes. Peter Vermes said it was fatigue and not an injury. If that’s true, I’m tempted to say play him on Wednesday when he’ll play a slower Zlatan than on Saturday when Houston will be flying down the field in that awful humidity of the Texas Gulf Coast. Not to mention it’s back-to-back home games with recovery at Pinnacle between games. Graham Smith has been steady as Besler’s replacement, though it’s a big ask for him to defend against either of the upcoming opponents.

Another player who may need rotation is Sporting’s oldest player, 34-year-old Benny Feilhaber. With Gianluca Busio back there is a logical replacement just waiting in the wings and Benny can come on for him as Busio did for Benny on Sunday.

The only other player that was in the 18 16 is Gedion Zelalem. It’s hard to imagine Vermes starting him. Though it could be said players like Daniel Salloi and Andreu Fontas may be closer to coming back and could sneak in a start, but a few more days of rest would probably be good for them.

And finally, despite Croizet playing out of his mind on Sunday, Krisztian Nemeth is probably back in there on Wednesday. He does have 11 goals in all competitions in 2019, so it’s hard to deny him that spot.

[The graphic below was updated with the Nemeth suspension extension that was announced after this story was published on Tuesday morning.]

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Smith, Zelalem, Feilhaber, Medranda, Croizet, Salloi

It was weird that Tyler Freeman wasn’t with the Swope Park Rangers or Sporting KC lineups last weekend. He’s obviously a very green kid but it’s surprising that they didn’t at least let him sit on the bench and have that experience.

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote is the same as mine except you guys have Benny over Busio. It’s tough because this preview was wrote less than 24-hours after the Predict the Lineup post came out. None of the voting was particularly close (Busio had just 8.6%) with the exception of Graham Smith who got 40% of the vote. Be sure to vote quickly for Saturday’s game against Houston to have it represented in that preview.


This game has the potential to be ugly with just two days rest between facing two of the best teams in the league. That said, I expect there is a good possibility for some home magic, even if it’s not enough to get the win. But honestly, Sporting are simply a better team and if they were healthier/had more rest, I’d pick them all day. Especially with the Galaxy’s recent form.

2-2 Draw

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.

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