When: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 6:30 PM CT
Where: Nippert Stadium
How to Watch/Stream: | Fox Sports Kansas City (regionally) | Fox Sports Midwest (regionally) | ESPN+ (out of market)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City showed a return to their early form against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend with a 4-0 thrashing at home. That game marked the return of Alan Pulido from international duty (and subsequent quarantine) and he opened the scoring on the day.
Cincinnati on the other hand lost their second consecutive game as they gave up yet another late goal to fall to Minnesota United. This one came in stoppage time, while their game losing goal allowed to D.C. United came in the 78th minute. Those back-to-back losses move them to the worst record in all of Major League Soccer behind the aforementioned D.C. United in the East and LA Galaxy in the West (that felt good to write).
Cincy’s problem seems to be that they simply cannot score goals. They have a league worst 11 goals through 20 games played. And it’s not even close. Several other teams have 19 scored and that is the next worst total.
FC Cincinnati will look to bounce back against first place Sporting KC as they host for the second time in just two games between these clubs. The previous meeting saw Sporting KC trot out a lineup filled with backups that still managed to play to a 1-1 draw in 2019. That previous game saw the game tying goal scored by now starter Gianluca Busio (and was the only appearance for Rodney Wallace in a KC uniform before he left that game injured). Wednesday’s game will be Cincy’s 5th straight home game.
The team’s did meet on neutral ground in 2020 when they played a preseason game in Arizona. SKC won that one 4-0.
Cincinnati’s Recent Results
- Cincinnati @ Philadelphia Union - 3-0 Union Win
- Toronto FC @ Cincinnati - 1-0 Toronto Win
- Columbus Crew @ Cincinnati - 2-1 Cincy Win
- D.C. United @ Cincinnati - 2-1 D.C. Win
- Minnesota @ Cincinnati - 1-0 Minnesota Win
What’s Changed for Cincinnati Since the Last Meeting?
Cincinnati is a team that seems in constant flux, particularly at the coaching spot. They’ve had four head coaches in just two MLS season (over five stints). Their second full-time head coach, Ron Jans, was fired just before the season for reportedly using the “N” word in the locker room. He has been replaced by Jaap Stam who Cincinnati infamously announced using the wrong photo. Let’s get to the player changes.
OUT: Cincinnati have had 18 players leave their club since the end of the 2019 season (though a couple are just on loan to the USL). They declined contract options on or were out of contract with seven players, including veterans Victor Ulloa and Roland Lamah. They lost defender Alvas Powell in the expansion draft. They transferred midfielder Leonardo Bertone to FC Thun (Switzerland). They also traded away Kekuta Manneh (New England Revolution) and Fatai Alashe (Columbus Crew) and waived Designated Player Fanendo Adi.
IN: It’s slim pickings on names you’ve possibly heard of in Ohio. The biggest addition is probably aging midfielder Haris Medunjanin who Cincy got on waivers from the Philadelphia Union. Medunjanin has played well at times though he has just a goal and an assist to show for it. Their biggest signing is probably Jurgen Locadia on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League. The club recently transferred Alvaro Barreal from Velez Sarsfield (Argentina) who has not even been with the team for two months but has already made four starts for 326 minutes. The other signing they have high hopes for is forward Franko Kovacevic who signed on loan from TSG Hoffenheim (Bundesliga), though he just joined and has yet to make an appearance.
QUESTIONABLE - Gianluca Busio (not medically cleared), Winston Reid (groin)
*This will be updated as more information becomes available. (First Update: Thad asked Peter during the press conference and he said Busio and Reid could play, so we moved them to questionable.)
OUT - Greg Garza (not medically cleared), Przemyslaw Tyton (not medically cleared), Caleb Stanko (not medically cleared)
QUESTIONABLE - Not Given
Sporting KC - None
- Suspended Next Yellow: Ilie Sanchez
- Suspended with Two More Yellows: Alan Pulido, Amadou Dia, Khiry Shelton
- Suspended Next Yellow: Kendall Waston
- Suspended with Two More Yellows: Mathieu Deplange, Caleb Stanko
GOALS: Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda (6), Khiry Shelton, Erik Hurtado (4), Gerso Fernandes (3), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Gianluca Busio, Andreu Fontas, Winston Reid (1)
ASSISTS: Pulido, Russell (4), Gerso, Busio, Kinda (3), Luis Martins, Espinoza (2), Roberto Puncec, Shelton, Jaylin Lindsey, Felipe Hernandez, Zusi, Ilie Sanchez, Amadou Dia (1)
GOALS: Yuya Kubo (3), Brandon Vasquez (2), five with one (1)
ASSISTS: Adrien Regattin (2), three with one (1)
Sporting KC - W / W / L / D / W (10 points)
Cincinnati - L / L / W / L / L (3 points)
Starting XI Predictions
Time permitting, this will come closer to the game.
If Kansas City can’t win this, even on the road without young Gianluca Busio out of the lineup, that’s not a great sign. Short rest and same day travel never help any team, but Cincinnati haven’t been able to score goals and their defense isn’t great either. They are literally the worst team in the league. You’d expect Sporting KC to be able to overcome that and prove why they belong in first place in the Western Conference.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cincy bunker and Sporting struggle to break it down. If they can get one goal through, the floodgates could come rushing wide open. I figure SKC find a way (but that probably means I just cursed them).
2-0 Sporting KC Win
What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.
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