When: Sunday, July 3rd, 2022 at 7:00 PM CT (Kickoff 7:08)
Where: Children’s Mercy Park
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)
Sporting Kansas City aren’t in last place, technically. They slid back to 13th place in the Western Conference and 25th overall in the league table. Even on points per game (which they are last in the West on) they are 0.01 points higher than the Chicago Fire (who have two games in hand) in the entire league.
Last week Sporting showed signs of life. They were the first team to head into Nashville SC’s new stadium and hand them a defeat (and the first team to beat them in any of their home stadiums in 25 games). Then they went on to decimate a third division side in a US Open Cup quarterfinal by a 6-0 scoreline. But three games in seven days proved too much as they fell to the Seattle Sounders on the weekend 0-3 (it was the turfs fault, right?).
Now they find themselves back at home for the first time in MLS play since their 1-2 (Uri Rosell red card aided) loss to the New England Revolution on June 12th. Children’s Mercy Park has hardly been a fortress as they’ve gone 3-3-2 there in league play (but 3-0-0 in the Open Cup). With a week’s worth of rest, hopefully the team can start to put things together. They are running out of time.
They will host the New York Red Bulls. A team that uses their Homegrown territory well but never swing big for Designated Players or would be perennial contenders. They are finding themselves on a upswing after a trying 2021. They currently sit in fourth place in the East, just three points behind the Philadelphia Union in first, and seven points behind Supporters Shield leading LAFC.
Red Bulls’ Recent Form
- May 22nd @ Inter Miami CF — 0-2 Loss
- May 28th vs. D.C. United — 4-1 Win
- June 11th @ Charlotte FC — 0-2 Loss
- June 18th vs. Toronto FC — 2-0 Win
- June 26th @ LAFC — 0-2 Loss
As you can see, RBNY have been stronger at home than on the road, but that’s a recent trend. On the year they are 5-3-1 on the road (all three losses coming in their most recent road games) and 2-2-4 at home. So... Sporting caught them at the right time?
Also in that run are two U.S Open Cup games (both wins) over Charlotte (road) and New York City FC (home).
What’s new for the Red Bulls in 2022?
The Red Bulls have made a lot of moves since the 2021 season ended. They’ve added 12 players and lost 11.
OUT: They sent out strikers Fabio and Mathias Jørgensen, who they declined options on. They also let contracts expire on Kyle Duncan and Daniel Royer and lost Sean Davis in free agency to Nashville. The loan on left back Andrew Gutman expired, sending him back to Atlanta United.
IN: One out that’s back in is defender Tom Edwards who was on loan from Stoke City and has been brought back on loan again. He’s joined by loans for Caden Clark (which was a complicated deal to get done), back from RB Leipzig, and Ashley Fletcher from Watford.
The team also brought in goalkeeper Carlos Coronel from RB Salzburg on transfer as well as midfielder Luquinhas from Legia Warsaw. Plus they made trades for defender Dylan Nealis (Nashville SC) and perhaps biggest of all, winger Lewis Morgan from Inter Miami as a part of their move to clear budget space because of their cheating scandal. And of course they added through their Homegrown path and RBNY II, like they always do.
QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (quad)
*This has been updated based on the official injury report.
OUT - Dylan Nealis (yellow card accumulation), Andres Reyes (foot), Lucas Monzón (hamstring), Wiki Carmona (foot), Tom Edwards (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE - None
Discipline Watch for Sporting KC
Suspended Next Yellow Card: Roger Espinoza, Kortne Ford, Johnny Russell
Goals: Johnny Russell (5), Daniel Salloi (4), Remi Walter (2), Marinos Tzionis, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Hernandez, Graham Zusi (1)
Assists: Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke (3), Daniel Salloi, Ben Sweat, Uri Rosell, Roger Espinoza, Remi Walter (1)
Goals: Lewis Morgan (7), Luquinhas (5), Patryk Klimala (4), Tom Barlow, Omir Fernandez, Aaron Long (2), two with one (1)
Assists: Fernandez (6), Frankie Amaya (4), Klimala (3), Luquinhas, Morgan, Dylan Nealis (2), five with one (1)
Starting XI Predictions
This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day. (Update: here is that story!)
While the Red Bulls have struggled on the road recently (see above), they are second in the league for points earned on the road. Sporting KC are 22nd in points earned at home. That doesn’t add up to a great combination unless the recent 0-3-0 RBNY road form continues (though some of that is probably just Open Cup congestion).
Add to that the fact that New York are sixth in the league in goals scored and eighth in goals allowed and it gets even more bleak. The only real positive is in the recent form table RBNY only have nine points in their last eight league games, but Sporting managed to be worse with just eight in eight.
These teams have played fairly consistently against one another despite being in different conferences (we are three seasons in and SKC have never played Miami for comparison). Last season, SKC went on the road and won 2-1. In 2019 the teams played to a draw in Kansas City. And in 2018 the Red Bulls won 3-2 at home. Before that, they played in the 2017 US Open Cup final in Kansas City (which could repeat this year) with Sporting winning the trophy.
On Sunday, I think Sporting are very capable of winning. The Sounders are a good team and that was a busy week of games. But I simply cannot consistently pick Sporting KC to win games until they put together a consistent run of form.
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