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MLS: US Open Cup-Houston Dynamo FC at Sporting Kansas City

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Sporting KC v Houston Dynamo: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

No Nagamura in this rematch as the former SKC player and SKC II coach was fired this week.

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Houston Dynamo

When: Sunday, September 10th, 2022 at 7:30 PM CT (Kickoff 7:38)

Where: PNC Stadium

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

So much for the playoffs. It was fun while it lasted, but Sporting Kansas City are essentially eliminated after their 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy last weekend. That leaves them with a max point total of 45, which would only be good enough to make the playoffs in an MLS that used to allow 60 percent of the teams into the playoffs, and even then only in a really down year for a conference (2016 in the East).

At this point, the top four teams in the Western Conference (LAFC, Austin FC, FC Dallas and Nashville SC) are at (Nashville) or above (the other three) the 45 point mark. And SKC can only get to 45 with five straight wins. Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers have 42 points and four (Portland) or five (RSL) games to go.

It’s not happening.

Instead, Sporting KC should turn their attention to the longest preseason in club history (thanks TBT member LalasLand) and see who should stick around in 2023 and who should be gone. In the process, they’ll need to fend off teams like the Houston Dynamo in a race to not finish dead last in all of MLS and ‘win’ the Wooden Spoon.

Wooden Spoon Standings:

Of those teams, all but San Jose have played 29 games. Not finishing last would be great.

The Dynamo will host Kansas City without their head coach as they relieved Paulo Nagamura and his assistants (Jimmy Nielsen and Chris Martinez) of their jobs this week. That means Naga won’t get the chance to avenge his loss to Peter Vermes and company in the regular season or the US Open Cup. Instead, Dynamo 2 coach Kenny Bundy will try to get the Dynamo further clear of dead last in MLS.

Houston’s Recent Form

Houston have just one win in their last eight and it was oddly against Los Angeles FC. In that run they had a 6-0 crushing defeat to the Philadelphia Union and the final loss to Seattle cost Paulo Nagamura his job.

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

For the moves prior to the team’s first regular season meeting, head back to that original preview. It’s a full breakdown of their offseason. Below are the moves since that story was published on May 11th.

IN: Hector Herrera had already signed, but he arrived in the summer, so if his health allows, this will be the first time KC have met him in competition. He’ll be joined by forward Beto Avila who signed from Dynamo 2 and Nelson Quinones who arrived on loan this summer from Once Caldas (Columbia).

OUT: The Dynamo have just removed one player, you may have heard, in forward Tyler Pasher. He has also since mutually left the New York Red Bulls.

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (SEI - knee surgery), Kortne Ford (suspension), Tim Melia (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - Ben Sweat (back), Graham Zusi (quad)

*This has been updated based on the official injury report.

Houston

OUT - Daniel Steres (right arm), Griffin Dorsey (yellow card accumulation)

QUESTIONABLE - Hector Herrera (right leg), Memo Rodriguez (left leg)

Discipline Watch for Sporting KC

Suspended Next Yellow Card: Kortne Ford, Roger Espinoza

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Johnny Russell (8), Daniel Salloi (6), Willy Agada (5), Remi Walter (3), Roger Espinoza, Erik Thommy, Andreu Fontas, Felipe Hernandez (2), Marinos Tzionis, Graham Zusi (1)

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

Houston

Goals: Sebastian Ferreira (10), Darwin Quintero (7), Fafa Picault (5), Thor Ulfarsson (4), Adalberto Carrasquilla, Teenage Hadebe, Tyler Pasher, Daniel Steres (2), two with one (1)

Assists: Adam Lundqvist (5), Quintero (4), Carrasquilla, Ferreira, Picault, Memo Rodriguez (3), Griffin Dorsey, Matias Vera (2), seven with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

No promises on a full blown article on this, so let’s make it quick. Play at least some of the kids. Sure Kayden Pierre and Logan Ndenbe made mistakes, but now is the time for that. SKC basically can’t make the playoffs so let’s get some seasoning on these guys before they are asked to take bigger roles in the future. They don’t all need to start, but a sampling like last weekend would be fine in my opinion.

Predictions

Sporting KC, despite the down year, have had the Dynamo’s number. They have won three straight games in MLS competitions and that’s the first time either team has done that in their history. A once great rivalry hasn’t been as competitive in recent seasons.

However, don’t underestimate that Houston weather and the injection of life a new coach can give a team. Kansas City probably should have beat the Galaxy if not for unlucky PKs (or lost, it depends how you look at it). They also shouldn’t have given up those late goals against Austin FC. They’ve been in winning positions lately, including winning in three of their last five. If not for mistakes and five dropped points their playoff hopes wouldn’t yet be dashed and this game would mean much more.

It’ll be interesting to see how they react. I think they should win because I think Peter will treat this game just like any of the recent ones. Until they are mathematically eliminated, he’s going to be all in. Then again, injuries, a new coach and a rough road record (2-9-4) don’t bode well for KC.

1-1 Draw

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