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Sporting KC v Seattle Sounders: Preview, Predictions, Stats and Roster Changes

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The most important regular season game of the season so far.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC v Seattle Sounders

When: Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 6:00 PM CT (Kickoff 6:25)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: FS1 | Fox Sports Go App
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

The vaunted, “six point game.” The winner of the match takes three points while denying their opponent three (unless it’s a draw).

Sporting Kansas City enter the weekend in first place, a single point ahead of the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference (46 points to 45). The Sounders still have a game in hand and therefore are ahead in the points per game standings (1.88 to 1.84).

With only nine games to go for Sporting KC, a lot is on the line.

The good thing is games in hand only mean something if you take advantage and Seattle (as well as the Colorado Rapids who have two in hand), just have far more congested schedules down the stretch than SKC. This meeting marks one of the two remaining meetings between these teams in 2021. In their previous meeting, an Alan Pulido-less SKC team travelled to Seattle and handed the Sounders their first multi-goal loss at home in years.

Seattle’s Recent Form

Seattle’s been pretty solid all year with back-to-back losses only once in the league (SKC haven’t done that all season), though they have stumbled a bit in recent MLS competition losing two of their last three and three of four counting Wednesday’s Leagues Cup final.

  • August 29th vs. Portland Timbers - 0-2 Loss
  • September 11th vs. Minnesota United - 1-0 Win
  • September 14th vs. Santos Laguna - 1-0 Win (Leagues Cup)
  • September 18th @ Real Salt Lake - 0-1 Loss
  • September 22nd vs. Club Leon - 2-3 Loss (Leagues Cup Final)

The Leagues Cup, which Sporting controversially (in some eyes but not mine) punted on, has consumed Seattle’s legs as of late and will leave them hopefully very tired coming into Sunday’s game in KC. They led the final before falling behind 1-3 until a late goal made it interesting for Seattle.

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

The Sounders have made just two moves since the July 25th meeting of these clubs. Both of them are additions.

IN: Seattle signed midfielder Leo Chu via the U-22 Initiative (#YoungMoney) and his first appearance was huge as he assisted late to Raul Ruidiaz to push Seattle through to the finals of the Leagues Cup against Club Leon. The other addition is a trade with fellow Western Conference front-runner, the Colorado Rapids. For a pittance, Seattle added midfielder Nicolas Benezet.

OUT: None

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - Alan Pulido (knee), Remi Walter (knee)

*This has been updated by the official injury report.

Seattle

OUT - Jordan Morris (ACL injury), Jordy Delem (right ACL tear), Nico Lodeiro (knee)

QUESTIONABLE - Nicolas Benezet (left hip flexor strain)

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Daniel Salloi (13), Alan Pulido (8), Johnny Russell (6), Gadi Kinda (4), Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey, Khiry Shelton, Cam Duke (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Luis Martins, Jose Mauri (1)

ASSISTS: Johnny Russell (7), Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton (6), Graham Zusi (4), Gianluca Busio, Gadi Kinda, Alan Pulido (3), Felipe Hernandez (2), Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Jaylin Lindsey, Remi Walter, Roger Espinoza (1)

Not going to lie, I had no clue Shelton had six assists.

Seattle

GOALS: Raul Ruidiaz (14), Freddy Montero (6), Brad Smith (3), Xavier Arreaga, Jimmy Medranda, Joao Paulo, Cristian Roldan (2), five with one (1)

ASSISTS: Paulo (8), Montero, Alex Roldan, Smith (3), Will Bruin, Medranda, C. Roldan (2), five with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

This will have it’s own story, as always.

Score Predictions

I’m always torn on prediction time. Things definitely favor KC. They’ll come in on about 10 days rest. Which arguably is too much rest. In that same timeframe, Seattle will have played about three games to KC’s one. Two of those games came against top tier Liga MX teams (Santos Laguna and Leon). They also played at elevation last weekend against RSL and one of their Leagues Cup games was in Las Vegas (though in a controlled environment in the Raiders’ stadium).

Plus, Sporting won big last time these teams met. My concern would be that Seattle learns the lesson that the Chicago Fire and Minnesota United couldn’t, and they’ll play defensive and bunker in Children’s Mercy Park. If that’s the case, it could be a boring game and anything could happen. If Seattle come out and play wide open, then the goals should flow. I suspect they’ll be a little conservative on the road in short rest. KC just needs to score first to open up the game and then it could get wild.

Plus, Seattle has a built in excuse if they lose.

3-2 Sporting KC Win

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

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