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Preview: Philadelphia Union at Sporting Kansas City

The playoff race is on and the Union are in the thick of it. Will they continue their good form against Sporting Kansas City?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Moving past the Rais M'Bolhi press conference, the Union need to focus on their Friday night opponent.  This is the second of three meetings between the Union and Sporting Kansas City this season with the Union currently up 1-0-0 against Kansas City by virtue of a 2-1 win on May 14th that saw goals from Danny Cruz and Cristián Maidana.  Fast forward since then and Kansas City has newly minted DPs Matt Besler and Graham Zusi firing on all cylinders.  Kansas City hasn't lost since May 31st against D.C. while the Union's last defeat was July 4th against Dallas.

So how might this game go? Well, before the signing, it might have been a tough one to call. The Union for whatever reason always seem to step up to Sporting Kansas City quite well. In fact the last time they played, the Union effectively closed down Zusi and didn't allow him much opportunity to create attacking play.  However, what can not be overlooked for the boys in blue is the M'Bolhi signing and how it may effect the confidence/play of one Zac MacMath.  The prevailing opinion of most is that MacMath will be traded soon.  With that kind of uncertainty hanging over his head, MacMath will have to either step up or wither under the pressure that will surely be focused solely on him on Friday night.  His confidence or lack thereof may infect the rest of the defense and lead to either a fantastic performance or an utter drubbing at the hands of the Supporters Shield contenders.

Besides the obvious threat of Graham Zusi, the Union will have to contend with Golden Boot contender Dom Dwyer, who has been tearing it up to put it mildly.  He is tied for second most goals in MLS with 14 (3 behind current leader New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips), any attempt at a win MUST involve stopping Dwyer from getting free and getting a shot on the net as he did against the Union in their last match.

The Union desperately also need Cristián Maidana out on the field, they are very obviously a different team without him helping out with the attack and the Union haven't looked as good offensively as a result.  Maidana is currently listed as "Questionable" on the MLS injury report and if he can't suit up the Union are in for a long day on Friday.

Honestly, given the turnover at the GK position for The Union and the uncertainty that brings, it doesn't look entirely promising for the Union.

 I predict 2-0 Sporting Kansas City. What are your thoughts? Let me know below.