Jun 28, 2013, 9:21 PM EST
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.
Nov 21, 2014, 9:20 PM EST
Zinedine Zidane can return to coaching after his nonsensical coaching suspension was lifted on Friday. Perhaps “qualified” needs redefining.
VIDEO: Louis van Gaal calls Wayne Rooney “not a typical striker,” praises versatility ahead of Arsenal showdown
Nov 21, 2014, 8:42 PM EST
Louis van Gaal has called Wayne Rooney “not a typical striker,” but a “fantastic player” nonetheless before Arsenal showdown.
Inside Look: All-time greats, LA Galaxy & Seattle Sounders, to square off in Western Conference Championship, leg 1
Nov 21, 2014, 8:15 PM EST
It’s tempting to look ahead and crown the LA Galaxy MLS Cup champions already. A word of warning: Don’t do it at the Sounders’ expense.
Nov 21, 2014, 6:15 PM EST
Dear haters: Jermaine hears you, is not bothered by you and still loves you. Look out, Red Bulls.
MLS Cup Playoffs Preview: Red Bulls vs. Revolution, Galaxy vs. Sounders in Conference Championship first legs
Nov 21, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
The 2014 season is nearly finished, as the MLS Cup Playoffs resume this weekend. A few facts and stats to excite ahead of Sunday’s action.
Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
The English-born coach has had big success in Orlando since the club began play in 2011, winning the regular season title in three of four seasons.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:20 PM EST
Whitecaps FC 2 will compete in metro Vancouver at Thunderbird Stadium inside of the University of British Columbia.
Nov 21, 2014, 1:35 PM EST
The quota request comes after the BBC conducted a “State of the Game” survey that dug into the international representation in the Premier League.
Nov 21, 2014, 12:50 PM EST
Can the Baggies improve on last year’s point at Stamford Bridge?
Nov 21, 2014, 12:40 PM EST
Where and how to watch every single PL game in Week 12.
Nov 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
I’m a fan of Batman, but seems to me “The Dark Knight” should consider rocking Valencia’s bat rather than his own. Looks slick.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:45 AM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out this weekend.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:05 AM EST
So to the MLS players, coaches and “media members who regularly covered the league”, sit back and enjoy your biggest screw-ups.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:14 AM EST
Welbeck is used to being on the side of the favorites in this matchup, as Manchester United has dominated the series in recent years.
Nov 21, 2014, 9:25 AM EST
Danny Welbeck’s first Premier League game against his former team is just one subplot as the Gunners host the Red Devils.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:41 AM EST
All Americans plying their trade in the Premier League have a decent look at points, while two in the Championship will opening things up with Friday matches.
Nov 21, 2014, 7:49 AM EST
Paris Saint-Germain has claimed the last two Trophées with wins over Bordeaux and Guingamp, but this year’s table is clustered.
Nov 21, 2014, 12:17 AM EST
Swansea manager Garry Monk is hoping for the best as the Swans journey to play Manchester City at the Etihad this weekend.
Nov 20, 2014, 11:42 PM EST
Coupled with a breakout year from Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones’ skill and leadership have guided the New England Revolution to one of Major League Soccer’s most cohesive units.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:45 PM EST
Mascherano: “Messi didn’t say anything weird, he said what all football players are thinking.”
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