Jun 28, 2013, 9:21 PM EDT
In a match with major mid-season implications for either side, Sporting KC will head to Columbus with an opportunity to muddy the waters further in the Eastern Conference.
With table-watching still a bit irrelevant as we reach the halfway point, both teams have something relatively important riding on this match.
For Sporting, they will look to improve on their spotty home form. They’ve been fine on the road, but the dropped points at home have made this season that much harder for the squad, who’ve picked up just 2 points and netted just twice in their last three home matches.
It’s been a tough go recently for Kansas City both home and away, with just three draws and a loss to show for their last four matches. Much of that can be attributed to the losses of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, who will return from international duty for the trip to Columbus. Zusi is fresh off signing his new contract extension with KC.
It’s been a season of good not great for Sporting, with results there but also much left on the table. That feeling was most evident their last time out, having taken a 2-goal lead on FC Dallas before before letting it slip away after falling a man down. While it’s typically a good result to get a point on the road at the league leaders, the manner of the defeat was more painful than anything.
In a bit of team news ahead of the match, Sporting KC have recalled striker Dom Dwyer from Orlando City FC. The 22-year-old soared in the USL, exploding for 15 goals in just 13 matches during his spell with OCFC. With the prospect of three matches in nine days as well as loss of C.J. Sapong to suspension and both Mechack Jerome and Peterson Joseph leaving early for Haiti Gold Cup duty, Peter Vermes thought it prudent to bring in the in-form Dwyer.
For Columbus, this match is the first of two tricky road ties, ones that give them the chance to not only gain ground on those above, but also to prove to the MLS community that the devastating injuries suffered in the last month can be overcome.
It will be their second match since Glauber became the second victim of an ACL tear on the Columbus squad this season. Without the Brazilian or Eddie Gaven, the Crew crumbled at home to the red-hot Chicago Fire, conceding two goals in three minutes early in the second half.
All is not lost for Columbus, who are within close range of the table’s playoff sector and can take advantage of Sporting’s recent woes. Federico Higuain is starting to find his real value as a set-up man rather than a goal-scorer, and his ability to strike from set pieces and particularly the penalty spot has been priceless.
Crew manager Robert Warzycha has a bit of a lineup decision to make. Jairo Arrieta has returned from international duty with Costa Rica, so it remains to be seen who will play in front of Higuain – Arrieta, or his placeholder during international duty Dominic Oduro. However, with Ben Speas also returning for selection from a bout with an illness, it remains to be seen who will be put up front and who will go out wide. Oduro made himself very clear this week, saying how he believes he’s most effective up front.
With points for the taking, both teams will look to put recent inconsistencies behind them and grab the bull by the horns.
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Enrique has won 42 of his first 50 games in charge at Barcelona, and has his side gunning for a treble.
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Apr 21, 2015, 5:48 PM EDT
Time to take a trip down memory lane and look at some stunning UCL comebacks.
Apr 21, 2015, 5:08 PM EDT
This. Is. Awesome.
Apr 21, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Guardiola’s boys batter Porto to reach the final four of the Champions League.
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Apr 21, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT
Barcelona reaches the semifinals for the seventh time in eight seasons as the Catalans eliminated PSG from Champions League play.
Apr 21, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
Bayern Munich has put in FIVE first half goals against FC Porto, while Barcelona tightened it’s grip on a semifinal berth.
Apr 21, 2015, 3:18 PM EDT
A thigh strain threatens to end his injury-plagued season.
Apr 21, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT
Manchester United spent the most money in the Premier League, while Tottenham made the most.
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Apr 21, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
Two UCL quarterfinals will take place on Tuesday. Follow them both live, right here.
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Apr 21, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
As they look to mount a dream comeback on the road, the Bundesliga club will be without two of its best attackers.
Apr 21, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has dubbed him the “new Messi” in an attempt to boost his value.
Apr 21, 2015, 10:23 AM EDT
With the most goals of any defender in the Premier League, Chris Smalling has emerged as a solid member of Louis van Gaal’s lineup at Old Trafford.
Apr 21, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT
Manager Neil Redfearn is dealing with countless off the field issues, while the club’s legal team now has a new task with problems piling up.
Apr 21, 2015, 9:12 AM EDT
A player whose departure many thought was a foregone conclusion appears to be reconsidering.
Apr 21, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
NBCSports.com’s Managing Editor Randy Kim spoke with Der Kaiser, as the German legend visited NYC.
Apr 21, 2015, 7:42 AM EDT
Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Marcelo are all already out for tomorrow’s 2nd leg with Atletico Madrid, and now their striker is unavailable as well.
Apr 20, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT
Mourinho says Chelsea will look to the club’s stacked youth academy for reinforcements, as well as the transfer market.
Apr 20, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT
Liverpool’s captain-in-waiting is reportedly set to sign a new long-term deal at Anfield.
Apr 20, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT
PSG and Bayern Munich did themselves no favors in the first leg, but it’s still 90 minutes from over.
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