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Sporting KC v Vancouver Whitecaps: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

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Peter Vermes vs. Marc dos Santos: Round 2

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Vancouver Whitecaps (#VANvSKC)

When: Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 9:00 PM CT

Where: BC Place

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

I’m not sure one win can be considered a “streak” but Sporting Kansas City will definitely have a chance to string together some games. They have a full week off and head to Canada to play the Whitecaps for the second time in 2019. The first meeting ended in bitter disappointment as the Caps scored a late equalizer to steal two points from KC at home.

Sporting KC will look to head to the Great White North to steal some road points back this time around. The club is just 1-4-4 on the road with the lone win coming against the Columbus Crew SC in Ohio. However, Vancouver has a pretty rough home record going just 3-4-4. It’s head coach Marc dos Santos’ first year at the helm and he’s in the middle of a complete rebuild.

In the single table the Whitecaps are one spot worst than SKC (21st to 20th) and also a single position behind them in the Western Conference standings (11th to 10th). Neither team is having a great year, but the matchup promises to be contentious as dos Santos is a former member of the KC staff and the first ever head coach of the Swope Park Rangers (USL Championship).

Interesting Stats

  • Vancouver has won just one of their last nine games (1-3-5).
  • In the last visit to BC Place, Daniel Salloi scored a brace, though he has zero goals in 2019.
  • SKC are 8-3-4 all-time against Vancouver and have a winning record on the road (3-2-2).

What’s changed for Vancouver since the 1st meeting?

Literally nothing has changed roster wise for Vancouver since the teams met earlier this season. For the full 2018 offseason moves check out our first preview of Vancouver from earlier in the year as they massively turned over their roster under their new head coach.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT - Jaylin Lindsey (torn meniscus and wrist surgery), Rodney Wallace (hip injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Roger Espinoza (PCL), Erik Hurtado (knee surgery and wrist surgery)

*This story will be updated based on Saturday’s injury report.

Vancouver

OUT - Jasser Khmiri (left knee injury), David Norman Jr. (right foot surgery)

QUESTIONABLE - None

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None (Benny Feilhaber and Ilie Sanchez suspended next yellow card)

Vancouver - Fredy Montero (red card), (Ali Adnan suspended next yellow card)

Stats

Sporting KC

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

ASSISTS - Ilie Sanchez (4), Johnny Russell, Gerso Fernandes (3), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Yohan Croizet, Kelyn Rowe, Felipe Gutierrez (2), Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, Nicolas Hasler (1)

*I was surprised Gutierrez’s assist to Croizet was only his 2nd on the year. That’s a number that needs to go up from one of the two more forward midfielders.

Vancouver

GOALS - Montero (6), Yordy Reyna (4), Lucas Venuto (3), Doneil Henry (2), seven with one

ASSISTS - Montero, Adnan, Jon Erice, Inbeom Hwang (2), seven with one

Starting XI Predictions

Squad rotation last week? What was I thinking? Three games and it’s mostly the same squad with minor changes from game to game. Still, there are some positions that have rotated and are up for debate.

First, who plays striker? Yohan Croizet started over Krisztian Nemeth and came on for him in the prior game in the second half. Personally, I’d start Nemeth as he scored against Vancouver earlier this year and if they sit in, he’s the better player with the ball at his feet that could break them down. Yohan can keep playing striker, but rotation between the two players is probably better than sticking 100% with one over the other. It’ll keep defenses on their toes since they play different styles.

The next question is if Johnny Russell is healthy enough to start. He put in 17 minutes against Chicago in his first game back from injury. I’d be conservative and if you start him, plan to bring him off 55-60 minutes in or if he comes on, he should get a longer shift in replacement of maybe 30-35 minutes. Gerso should be the assured starter but Daniel Salloi is so out of form he’s the obvious candidate to sit for Russell.

In the midfield it’s obviously Gutierrez and Ilie but Feilhaber and Gedion Zelalem have rotated back and forth over the last three games. If they keep alternating it would be Feilhaber’s turn to start. It’s a positional battle to continue to watch as Roger Espinoza works his way back to full health.

In defense, if it isn’t broke...

I expect no changes on the backline. The real question is if Andreu Fontas is on the bench or if he is completely out of the 18 again.

Rest of the 18: Zendejas, Fontas, Medranda, Salloi, Croizet, Busio, Zelalem

If Fontas isn’t in the lineup, is he being sold? It’s a lot of money to pay a guy to not even have to be in the 18 and potentially get into a game.

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote was only close in two spots. The Feilhaber/Zelalem battle as well as the Nemeth/Croizet battle. You guys went the opposite way as me, starting Croizet and Zelalem. Everything else was unchanged from the above lineup. Here are the players with the most votes who aren’t starting: Nemeth (45.1%), Feilhaber (40.8%), Busio (22.5%), Salloi [wing] (15.5%), Hasler (14.1%) and Medranda (9.9%).

Prediction

Vancouver played in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday to a 0-0 draw against Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC. Here are the highlights. The club ran out most of their starters so they should be a little more fatigued that KC heading into Saturday. On top of that the Whitecaps lost 6-1 to LAFC (besting KC’s rough 5-1 showing) last weekend. Add to all of that the fact that their leading scorer is on a red card suspension and SKC have things going their way.

All the stars seem aligned to help KC find a win. It’s a game they need to win (even though it’s on the road) if they want to make a run in 2019. dos Santos is a good coach though and they may be tough to break down. If Kansas City can finish their chances, they should take all three points. Quite a large ‘if.’ A draw would be acceptable on the road, but it’s a bad team so Sporting should be favored to get all three points.

1-0 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).

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