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MLS: Sporting Kansas City at New York City FC

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Sporting KC v NYCFC: Preview, Predictions and How to Watch

Sporting Kansas City heads to New York to play the defending MLS Cup Champions.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ New York City FC

When: Saturday, May 7th, 2022 at 6:00 PM CT (Kickoff 6:08)

Where: Citi Field

How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | ESPN+ (out of market) | SportingKC.com & SKC App (in market) | Sporting One App on Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV
How to Listen: La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

10 games in. That magical number that Peter Vermes is usually looking for to assess where his team stands. Going into 2022, he said 10 probably wouldn’t be enough with players joining so late (Nikola Vujnovic, Marinois Tzionis), but the early assessment isn’t good. Sporting Kansas City are just 2-6-2 (8 points) and down in 11th place. Technically they are one spot ahead of CONCACAF Champions League finalists, the Seattle Sounders, but they have three games in hand.

Things don’t get easier with the defending MLS Cup Champions next on the list. SKC head to New York City to take on the surging Citizens. NYCFC have scored 14 goals in their last three games.

That puts Sporting to shame. They have scored only eight times in 10 games. As if the goals alone weren’t bad enough, apparently all the advanced metrics have shown MLSsoccer.com’s Matt Doyle that NYC and the New York Red Bulls are the two best teams in MLS.

NYC’s Recent Form

There are also two CCL games in there against the Seattle Sounders (a win and a draw). New York are down in 5th in the East, but don’t let this all fool you. NYCFC are hot and without the burden of CCL games on their schedule, they look on pace to defend their title, at least until they sell Taty.

What’s New for NYCFC in 2022?

Maybe their most important move is the one they haven’t made yet. 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos remains with NYCFC despite numerous rumors of his impending transfer last winter. He could go in the summer, but that won’t help Kansas City this weekend.

OUT: DP midfielder Jesus Medina is gone. He’s joined by midfielder James Sands who is on loan with Rangers FC in Scotland as well as Ismail Tajouri-Shradi who was picked in the expansion draft then traded to LAFC so he could drive a dagger through SKC fan’s hearts. Several other players had options declined, but no regular contributors.

IN: Thiago Martins has arrived via transfer from Yokohama F. Marinos and has made an immediate impact. He’s joined by forward Gabriel Pereira via transfer from Corinthians. Otherwise, it’s all Homegrowns (four of them) and SuperDraft picks (just one).

Overall, very few moves, which makes sense considering they won it all last season.

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (concussion, facial fracture), Graham Zusi (leg strain)

QUESTIONABLE - None

*This will be updated based on the official injury report.

New York City

OUT - Anton Tinnerholm (Achilles Tendon)

QUESTIONABLE - Maxime Chanot (upper body), Maxi Moralez (lower body), Thiago Martins (lower body)

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Remi Walter, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell (2), Roger Espinoza (1)

Assists: Cam Duke (2), Felipe Hernandez, Daniel Salloi, Ben Sweat (1)

New York City

Goals: Taty Castellanos (5), Thiago Andrade (4), Keaton Parks, Gabriel Pereira dos Santos, Santiago Rodriguez (2), four with one (1)

Assists: Talles Magno (5), Rodriguez (4), Parks (2), six with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day.

Score Predictions

Sporting KC will enter this game with one of the youngest backlines in recent memory. Presumably Logan Ndenbe will continue to start since he hasn’t shown anything that should change that. He’s 22. 20-year-old Robi Voloder is about to turn 21. Cam Duke (21) is likely to start at RB with Zusi injured (though 19-year-old Kayden Pierre will be back from international duty too). That leaves Kortne Ford as the veteran at 26. The defense has played better, but that NYC attack is something to behold.

We are still at a point where it’s just impossible to pick Kansas City to win until they show something. They are winless in five straight, though they’ve improved marginally pulling out back-to-back home draws. Then again, they needed FC Dallas to get down to 10-men to get that last result.

Add to this all the recent history between these clubs. New York City FC have won three straight meetings between these teams. Even if this game is at Citi Field instead of Yankees Stadium, the pitch will still be narrow since it’s a baseball diamond and that favors a team that knows how to play in those tight spaces. All three of these wins have been at “home” for New York. While Sporting often play up or down to their opponents in recent years, I’m not sure even playing up will be enough.

3-2 NYCFC Win

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