Matchday 6 Preview: Sporting Kansas City

Matchday 6 Preview: Sporting Kansas City

FC Cincinnati enters Sunday having had an incredibly successful first five games. Seven points from five games is a stretch that even the most optimist couldn’t have seen coming. But starting with last week, and going until May 1st, FC Cincinnati will face only playoff teams from last year. Sporting Kansas City has long been the standardbearer for successful small markets in MLS.  Having the chance to compare where FCC is, to where we want to be, is an exciting battle to have play out on ESPN.   

Form  

As mentioned in the intro, FC Cincinnati has taken 7 points from 5 games entering the contest on a run of a loss, a draw, two wins, and a loss last week. Sporting Kansas City has been off a solid start in league play after a tough road loss to LAFC to open the season, then beating Philly 2-0, drawing Colorado, and crushing Montreal 7-1 last week. It is important to note that Kansas City has been competing in the CONCACAF Champions League this season.  They are currently the last MLS team left in the contest, which is good for them.  They lost on Thursday to Mexican greats Monterrey 5-0, which is bad for them.

Storyline

This game is a an important match for both teams looking to set the tone for the first half of the season.  For Sporting Kansas City, they look to cement their status of being one of the best teams in the league.  Having been punched in the mouth during the week in Mexico, Peter Vermes needs to rally the troops and continue to push for the success they have known in the league. They’re still missing that key goal scorer, and with the summer window coming up, not losing ground in the supporter shield race will be important to them. For FC Cincinnati, this is a match to prove to the league that the first few games weren’t a fluke. Atlanta is really bad this year. Portland might be too. Losing to Seattle and Philadelphia didn’t show anyone they were wrong about FC Cincinnati not being a playoff team. A win against Kansas City would be an impressive scalp that would instantly give Koch and the boys a reputation of competing with the best. 

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Players You Should Know or Might Know

Everyone knows you only come to Nippert to see the opposing team’s players, right? Oh wait no that’s Vancouver.  Well, here are a few players you might be familiar with, or you will be after Sunday. 

Tim Melia 

Melia is a rock-solid goalkeeper and has long been one of the best in MLS.  Really, he shobeen called up to the USMNT a long time ago, but at this point he’s probably too old.  With Melia between the sticks SKC is always capable of getting a result.  

Matt Besler and Graham Zusi

The last time the USMNT was in the a World Cup,  these two were key players.  Both defenders, though Zusi plays pretty much all over the right side of the field. It’ll be neat seeing two players who were key members of that 2014 team, but that’s about where the interest in these two stops.

Krisztian Nemeth  

The Hungarian striker seems to be their only option up top after sending Dom Dwyer back to Orlando. Nemeth has been a journeyman forward having spent time all over the world. It is assumed SKC will look to bring in a better striker in the summer, meaning Nemeth is playing for his career.  He has four goals in four games to far for SKC, and he’ll be looking to keep his streak going on Sunday. 

Potential Lineup  

If I were picking a lineup, this is what I’d hope to see:

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Who do you want to see out there on Sunday?

The Pride