Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union are on two opposite ends of the MLS spectrum. While Sporting is tied for the lead in the East with games in hand on most teams, Philadelphia is next to last and has played as many or more games than every other team in MLS. They play this Wednesday night in Kansas City in a midweek matchup.
Even though he had a few shaky games in the beginning of the season, Eric Kronberg has come into his own as the number one goalkeeper and has only allowed six goals this season (three as a result of PK’s) with five clean sheets. Sporting will also have all their starters back and available, at least for tonight. While players like Aurelien Collin and Oriol Rosell have been back from receiving red cards, this will be Matt Besler’s and Graham Zusi’s final game for awhile, since they were called up to the 30 man World Cup squad for the US Men’s National Team. That’s unfortunate for the Union, who really could’ve used Besler and Zusi's absence to their advantage, albeit that they’re also going to lose Maurice Edu for the same reason.
Projected Starting XI
While Sporting will play three games in eight days, I can’t see the lineup changing too much from this past weekend. Besler and Zusi will be leaving after the game anyway, so they may as well play. Maybe the forward spots will have some variety but I wouldn’t be shocked if Peter Vermes sticks with who has been playing. Anyway, those in the XI, Eric Kronberg; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber; Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Toni Dovale. I’m torn whether or not to put in Dovale or Soony Saad but I think Dovale gets the start. Jacob Peterson has started the last two games but I think he gets a rest for Sunday’s game against Chicago.
The last time Sporting and the Union played, I correctly predicted a 2-1 Sporting win. I’m afraid this will not be as close. SKC has had the luxury of benefiting from the opponent getting a red card the last two games and giving them two easy wins, but that kind of momentum will move them past Philadelphia - especially in Sporting Park. I haven’t been necessarily impressed with the Union’s play this season and feel they have unfortunately regressed on the attacking side of the ball. Scoring less than a goal a game isn’t going to cut it if they want to think about playoffs. Good thing is that it’s May and the Union have about five months to turn it around. If it is a close game, Philly should definitely focus on capitalizing on Sporting’s vulnerability of allowing late game goals and losing points like they did this season against the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas as well as multiple times these past couple seasons. I see a 2-0 Sporting win.