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MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC

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Sporting KC v Seattle Sounders: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

Two games to go and Sporting Kansas City turn their eyes to spoiling the seasons of others.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders

When: Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 at 4:00 PM CT (Kickoff 4:25)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: FS1 | Fox Deportes

Much has changed since the last time we joined in this space. Sporting Kansas City was holding on by a thread and they went on to do their part when they forgot to play nice with Minnesota United and eviscerated them. Ultimately, despite their six-game unbeaten run, the playoffs have slipped away from KC as they were eliminated by the LA Galaxy.

The team has also ensured they won’t finish last as they are 10 points clear of D.C. United’s last place spot with just two games to go. So no more wooden spoon standings updates.

However, there is still something to play for. Some players are playing for their jobs. There are tough decisions ahead and the performances in practice and the final two games will no doubt have an impact on what Peter Vermes decides to do with all the free agents and contract options he has to decide on.

Another thing to play for is the chance to be a spoiler. The Seattle Sounders earned a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati on Tuesday and find themselves on the verge of missing the playoffs. This in the same season where they were the first MLS side to win the CONCACAF Champions League in it’s current iteration.

Seattle are in 9th and trail 7th place Minnesota by five points. A draw or loss to Sporting KC would eliminate Seattle. It’s possible we’ll already know Seattle’s fate going into Sunday’s game as Minnesota play the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night and a win by MNUFC combined the Portland Timbers getting at least a point against LAFC would eliminate the Sounders too.

There would be something satisfying about Sporting getting to be the team to put them out, but no doubt Timbers players and fans feel as strong or stronger about it.

Seattle’s Recent Form

Seattle just never quite turned their season around due to early congestion and injuries. MLS rosters just aren’t built for all these competitions. It’d be funny if they overreacted and fired their coach or GM, both of who have done an excellent job on the whole building that dynasty.

Down the stretch Seattle have just two wins in their last nine. If they squeeze into the playoffs you never know, but they aren’t striking fear into anyone’s hearts like a red hot team like KC would have if results had fallen their way.

What’s new for the Seattle since the last meeting?

Stunningly, Seattle have made no moves in season. Their salary budget must be strapped to not add players when they’ve been as hammered by injuries to key players and schedule congestion as they have. For all their offseason roster moves, head back to our prior preview.

IN: None

OUT: None

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Tim Melia (hamstring), Ozzie Cisneros (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - Graham Zusi (quad)

*This has been updated based on the official injury report. Still waiting on Seattle’s report.

Seattle

OUT - Kelyn Rowe (red card), João Paulo (right ACL tear), Obed Vargas (lower back stress fracture), Andrew Thomas (lower back stress fracture)

QUESTIONABLE - Cristian Roldan (groin surgery)

Presumably Roldan will be available as he played 35 minutes against Cincy.

Discipline Watch for Sporting KC

Suspended Next Yellow Card: Kortne Ford, Roger Espinoza

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Johnny Russell (8), Daniel Salloi, Willy Agada (7), Remi Walter, Erik Thommy (3), Roger Espinoza, Andreu Fontas, Felipe Hernandez (2), Marinos Tzionis, Graham Zusi, Robert Voloder, Khiry Shelton (1)

Assists: Daniel Salloi, Roger Espinoza (4), Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke, Ben Sweat (3), Remi Walter, Graham Zusi, Willy Agada (2), Uri Rosell, Khiry Shelton, Kayden Pierre, Erik Thommy, Johnny Russell (1)

Sounders

Goals: Raul Ruidiaz (9). Jordan Morris (7), Nicolas Lodeiro (5), Freddy Montero, Cristian Roldan (4), Will Bruin, Albert Rusnak (3), seven with one (1)

Assists: Lodeiro (11), Alex Roldan (7), C. Roldan (5), Morris (4), Leo Chu, Jimmy Medranda, Kelyn Rowe, Nouhou (3), Danny Leyva, Montero, Ruidiaz, Rusnak (2), Joao Paulo (1)

Starting XI Predictions

I would expect Vermes to continue to roll out his first choice lineup as of late. It’ll be interesting to see if players like Graham Zusi or Tim Melia come off the injury report as the week wears on (and with the gap between the last game), but Vermes has made it clear he won’t push it for no reason.

It could be of particular importance for Zusi, Melia and especially Roger Espinoza as you never know if this will be their last games in front of a Sporting KC home crowd. I feel moderately confident Zusi and Melia will return in 2023, but nothing is assured. And it definitely feels like it could be the last game for Roger in Sporting Blue.

Back to front, right to left (barring injury updates to this story): Pulskamp, Pierre, Isimat-Mirin, Fontas, Sweat, Walter, Thommy, Espinoza, Russell, Agada, Salloi

Predictions

Lately, Seattle are floundering and Sporting are surging. When this game was put on the schedule before the season it had to look like it would be one deciding important playoff seeding. Instead, it may be the final undoing of Seattle’s season. I think all Sporting fans would love to continue this budding rivalry by being the ones to break Seattle’s perfect playoff streak.

Seattle has everything to play for, but I just don’t see KC laying down considering how strong they’ve been down the stretch when it was all but lost. Plus the Pacific Northwestern's come in on short rest and players travelling back from busy international duty while only backups played abroad for SKC. Call me crazy, but I think Kansas City gets it done.

3-2 Sporting KC Win

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