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Sporting KC v LAFC: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

Will Ferrell and LAFC head to Kansas City.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Los Angeles FC
“If you ain’t first you’re last.”
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC v Los Angeles Football Club (#SKCvLAFC)

When: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 7:30 PM CT

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

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

On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City lost to Real Salt Lake. It was a lackluster performance but SKC have struggled on the road against RSL even when they are in form. Maybe it’s nothing.

A good chance to prove they are a team determined to turn things around will come Wednesday when the league leading LAFC comes to CMP to take on SKC who have fallen to last place in the West. The best versus the worst.

Sporting KC are potentially catching LAFC at a good time. LA lost in Colorado last weekend to a suddenly surging Colorado Rapids team. Prior to that, LAFC had won five of eight with the other three games being draws.

At the beginning of the season, on just a couple days rest from playing Toluca FC in the CONCACAF Champions League, SKC held their own and were only undone but a last second goal from Dio in stoppage time in California. The team played very well in the first half and showed they are capable. But that was half a season and several handfuls of injuries ago. Sporting KC are likely to still be severely hampered by injuries heading into Wednesday’s return home.

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting KC lead the all-time series 2-1 and are undefeated against LAFC at CMP (1-0-0).
  • LAFC are on pace to break the single season points record set last year by New York Red Bulls
  • Carlos Vela is on pace to break Josef Martinez’s single season goal scoring record, also set last year

What’s Changed for LAFC since the first meeting of 2019?

Since the first meetings between the clubs just one roster change has happened. Out is high priced DP Andre Horta who went back to Portugal. That means, if this is possible, LAFC could actually get better in the summer transfer window. The only addition since the first meeting is LAFC signed their SuperDraft pick, Javi Perez who has since gone down for the year with an injury.

For a look at some of their other offseason moves, check out our prior LAFC preview.


Sporting KC

OUT - Erik Hurtado (knee surgery and wrist surgery), Jaylin Lindsey (torn meniscus and wrist surgery), Rodney Wallace (hip injury), Roger Espinoza (PCL), Jimmy Medranda (hamstring), Johnny Russell (leg)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (abductor strain), Botond Barath (chest)

*This story will be updated Wednesday with the official injury report. Busio was removed from the injury report on 7/2 and Russell and Medranda were moved to out.


OUT - Danilo Silva (left hamstring strain), Javi Perez (left ACL tear)

QUESTIONABLE - Alejandro Guido (right quad strain)

International Duty

Sporting KC - None

LAFC - Peter-Lee Vassell (Jamaica), Walker Zimmerman (United States)


Sporting KC - None

LAFC - None (Zimmerman suspended next yellow card)


Sporting KC

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

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


GOALS - Carlos Vela (16), Diego Rossi (8), Mark-Anthony Kaye, Adama Diomande, Christian Ramirez (3), Latif Blessing (2), four others with one

ASSISTS - Vela (10), Eduard Atuesta (6), Kaye, Blessing (5), Diomande (4), Jordan Harvey, Rossi (3), four with one

Starting XI Predictions

What a terrible time to have three games in eight days. The injury report is back up to nine names and that’s without allowing time for anyone else to get injured in practice. It could very well be double digits by Wednesday. So even if Sporting KC wanted to do some squad rotation this week, it’s going to be awfully hard to do.

If there was squad rotation, you’d have to think Peter Vermes would save it for the Chicago Fire this weekend. The game against LAFC could be a six point swing and while SKC aren’t catching LA (no one probably will), I expect PV to go all-in against them.

Let’s start at the back. Sinovic seems to be healthy and it’s unclear if Medranda is. Seth should start. At CB one would guess Matt Besler starts again, but then again, he’s coming off a hamstring injury so the case could be made he should rest. Botond Barath also left the game on Saturday and the severity of his injuries are unknown. I suspect it’ll be Besler and Fontas but don’t be surprised if Graham Smith is forced into action.

When Vermes was asked about Botond after the game he said, “I’m not sure [about his injury]. I think he’ll be fine for Wednesday though.” So maybe he’ll be right back in the lineup.

On the right it should be Nicolas Hasler since Graham Zusi missed the game this weekend in Utah and has been in poor form.

I would guess Feilhaber returns to the midfield over Gedion Zelalem. That would bring the central three back together.

Up front, Russell was listed as out but the team could use him. Having three wingers allows for offensive subs that can make an impact instead of forcing someone out of position on the wing. I suspect we might be getting Gerso and Salloi again.

The final question is does Krisztian Nemeth start? When asked about the halftime sub, Vermes spoke frankly:

“There was work to be done there, so we wanted to bring somebody else in that was going to give us the work.”

That pretty clearly means he didn’t think Nemeth was doing the work and he thought Yohan would. Yohan Croizet will definitely work hard, but I’m not sure it’ll be work that leads to anything. I would personally start Nemeth but I could see PV going with Croizet to make a point. And Yohan was the starter in the Seattle Sounders game where Russell put up three (though there is no saying Johnny will be available Wednesday).

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Barath, Medranda, Russell, Croizet, Rowe, Zelalem

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote was abbreviated because that story just came out and now it’s almost time for another game. Those of you that did vote were nearly 100% with me with the lone exception that you guys willed Johnny Russell to get healthy and start over Salloi. I do think Salloi is close and if he’s forced to start again, hopefully he finally puts away one of the many near misses he’s had in the last few games.


LAFC are just a better team than Kansas City right now. And even if they weren’t, having nine players injured is significant. There is a lot of talk about not blaming the injuries but the team is both physically and mentally fatigued. A triple-game week won’t aid in that. Sporting KC are capable of winning but until they consistently show something, the wise thing to do is to pick against them.

2-1 LAFC 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).

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