When: Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 2:30 PM CT (Kickoff 2:50!!)
Where: Lumen Field
How to Watch/Stream: Bally Sports KC (regionally) | Bally Sports Midwest (regionally) | Bally Sports App | TUDN Twitter (English) | Univision |
How to Listen: ESPN 94.5 FM | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Let’s start with the good news. While Sporting Kansas City now have seven losses on the season, no two of them have come in a row. With Sporting KC losing to the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend, that means they’ll beat (or at least draw) with the Seattle Sounders, right? It’s a shame Peter Vermes doesn’t believe in streaks.
Jokes aside, let’s get serious for a minute. Sporting KC are running out of time to finish in first place. The Seattle Sounders drew the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday to give both teams a game in hand entering the weekend. That also drew Colorado level with SKC in the standings, but kept Seattle from running away with the lead, arguably the best outcome. The West currently looks like this:
- 1st - Seattle Sounders - 58 points (30 Games Played)
- 2nd - Sporting KC - 52 points (29 GP)
- 3rd - Colorado Rapids - 52 points (30 GP - SKC have the tiebreaker in wins)
- 4th - Portland Timbers - 46 points (30 GP) [when I started this article they were up 2-0 on Vancouver before they collapsed late]
All of this is to say, Saturday’s very early game is critical. A six point gap with five games to play isn’t impossible, but it’s not very likely to be closed either. Dropping all the points in Vancouver really hurts. But this is a classic “six-point game.” It’s the rubber match. It’s 1-1 between Sporting and Seattle, with the winner in great shape to win the West. Sporting would still need help with a win, but if they don’t win, it’s all but over in the race for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If they lose, we can safely call it over.
Seattle’s Recent Form
At least they are on short rest and slipping a bit lately.
- September 29th @ San Jose Earthquakes - 3-1 Win
- October 3rd vs. Colorado Rapids - 3-0 Win
- October 9th vs. Vancouver Whitecaps - 4-1 Win
- October 16th @ Houston Dynamo - 1-2 Loss
- October 20th @ Colorado Rapids - 1-1 Draw
The loss at Houston is bad, but a draw in Colorado on short rest is a quality result and this team is missing most of it’s best players. They are just so good.
QUESTIONABLE - Jose Mauri (ankle), Daniel Salloi (ankle)
*This has been updated based on the injury report.
From the game notes:— Thad (@TheBackpost) October 23, 2021
• MID - Jose Mauri (Ankle) • FWD - Daniel Salloi (Ankle)
• DEF - Jaylin Lindsey (Hamstring) • MID - Felipe Hernandez (Suspended) • FWD - Alan Pulido (Knee)
OUT - Jordan Morris (ACL injury), Jordy Delem (right ACL tear), Nico Lodeiro (right knee surgery), Brad Smith (right AC joint sprain), Raul Ruidiaz (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - None
Sounds unlikely he’d play vs skc but we’ll know more in Thursday— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) October 20, 2021
GOALS: Daniel Salloi (16), Johnny Russell (11), Alan Pulido (8), Gadi Kinda (5),
Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey, Khiry Shelton, Cam Duke (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Luis Martins, Jose Mauri (1)
ASSISTS: Daniel Salloi (8), Johnny Russell (7), Khiry Shelton (6), Graham Zusi (5), Gadi Kinda (4),
Gianluca Busio, Alan Pulido (3), Luis Martins, Felipe Hernandez (2), Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Remi Walter, Roger Espinoza, Jose Mauri (1)
GOALS: Raul Ruidiaz (16), Freddy Montero, Cristian Roldan (6), Jimmy Medranda (4), Will Bruin, Joao Paulo, Brad Smith (3), Xavier Arreaga, Nicolas Benezet (2), five with one (1)
ASSISTS: Paulo (10), Montero (6), C. Roldan (5), Bruin, Smith (4), Medranda, Alex Roldan (3), Josh Atencio (2), five with one
Starting XI Predictions
This will have it’s own story, as always.
I really think Sporting KC can win this game. It didn’t look like it last weekend when they lost on the road in Vancouver, but a lot is in their favor this time. Raul Ruidiaz, while not officially out yet, seems likely to be unavailable. He’s scored 32 percent of this team’s goals. It’s not like other guys can’t score, but Sporting only gave up really sloppy goals against Seattle the last time these two teams played.
Speaking of prior meetings, the teams are 1-1 against one another this year. Both team’s have won the road games. This game will be a road game for KC. So they have to win, right? Well, probably not. While they are more than capable (they won last time in Seattle without Pulido), I think Brian Schmetzer will learn from his mistakes. Sporting KC simply can’t play through the bunker unless they score first. On the season they have scored first in 13 games and conceded first in 14. If they score first, I have all the confidence in the world. If they falter again, Seattle are just so damn good on defense.
I can’t pick this team against elite competition until they show me something. They lost to Seattle last time. They looked flat against Vancouver. A draw may even be generous.
What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.
The Blue Testament has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though The Blue Testament and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles. If you want to support the site, you can sign up for ESPN+ and we receive a small commission.