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Sporting KC v Austin FC: Preview, Predictions, Stats and Roster Changes

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Meeting two between SKC and the expansion side and the second return of Matt Besler.

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

Sporting KC vs. Austin FC

When: Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 2:00 PM CT (Kickoff 2:08)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: | Bally Sports KC Plus (regionally) | Bally Sports Midwest Plus (regionally) |
ESPN+ (out of market or over VPN locally)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

The recent international break has left us without Sporting Kansas City soccer to enjoy since the boys won 3-2 against the Houston Dynamo at Children’s Mercy Park in the first full capacity game since the start of the 2020 season. Saturday marks the second return to full stadiums, this time in the heat of the afternoon as SKC welcome Austin FC in for a second meeting.

The first was a thriller that appear to be potential turning points for both teams. Austin lost three straight before gutting out a draw against LAFC and Sporting won four of five including that first Austin game. Sporting has started to play their way, dominating possession and the game. Austin are just trying to stay alive as their spell of road games to open their season winds down.

You’d think two teams headed in opposite directions would make this clear cut, but it’s not that easy.

Austin’s Recent Form

The newest MLS club out of Texas has played just seven games in their short history. They are 2-4-1 over that time (11th place in the West to Sporting’s 2nd), including a loss to Sporting Kansas City earlier this season. Here is their complete form table.

Austin are set to open their stadium next weekend, but until then, they have one more road game in Kansas City. Playing eight straight on the road is a tough way to open for any club, let alone an expansion team.

What’s changed for Austin since these teams last met?

Literally nothing in three months. Check out our prior preview for their roster build.

OUT: None

IN: None

Injuries*

Sporting KC

OUT - Kendall McIntosh (adductor)

QUESTIONABLE - None

*This has been updated by the official injury report. Isimat-Mirin is off and McIntosh is on. Danny Hoesen is a new addition for Austin.

Austin

OUT - Aaron Schoenfeld (left knee), Ulises Segura (left knee), Ben Sweat (ACL), Hector Jimenez (MCL), Daniel Pereira (right knee), Danny Hoesen (left hip)

QUESTIONABLE - None

International Duty

Sporting KC

  • Alan Pulido (Mexico)
  • Gadi Kinda (Israel)

Austin

  • None

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Alan Pulido (5), Gadi Kinda, Daniel Salloi (3), Gianluca Busio (2), Ilie Sanchez, Jaylin Lindsey (1)

ASSISTS: Khiry Shelton (3), Daniel Salloi (2), Johnny Russell, Luis Martins, Gadi Kinda, Gianluca Busio, Alan Pulido (1)

Austin

GOALS: Cecilio Dominguez, Diego Fagundez (2), Jon Gallagher (1)

ASSISTS: Jared Stroud (2), Gallagher, Rodney Redes (1)

Starting XI Predictions

Lots of moving pieces with the international absences. We break down who could and should start.

Score Predictions

I was out of town when the Houston Dynamo preview was written but in my head, I was going to write something to the effect of, ‘this team can beat most of the teams in MLS the way they are currently playing.’ I still feel that way, but there are some kinks in the plan with Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido away representing their countries. Unless the team can clone Gianluca Busio to play both those spots, the team is definitely worse without two of it’s Designated Players.

Add to that this FIFA break. In my opinion, Sporting are at their best when they play consistently. One game a week is ideal. Getting a weekend off has tended to break their rhythm in past years. Sporting will need to look to overcome the loss of two important players and find their feet again.

I think they are very capable, but those two factors give me pause. When everyone’s back, I look forward to seeing what that team can do to a contender like the Portland Timbers and I’ll start picking wins against teams like Austin, for sure. But the pessimistic sports fan in me says too much has changed and in the heat of the day the team could be in for a let down.

1-1 Draw

What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.

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