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Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
Oct. 26, 2014 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #323)
7:30 p.m. CT (ESPN/Deportes; TSN2)

A critical match for the shape of the Eastern Conference matchups in the MLS Cup Playoffs concludes the 2014 regular season Sunday evening as Sporting Kansas City play host to the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park. Sporting come into the game holding third place in the East for the moment, but could dip as low as fifth place, coming off a 2-1 defeat at Philadelphia Union last weekend. The Red Bulls are holding the fifth and final spot in the division but could reach third place in the East, though they saw their long home winning streak ended last weekend in a 3-1 loss to Columbus.


REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 46 games; FC/gm: 22.6; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 16; pens: 11

SUSPENDED: KC: Igor Juliao (through Oct. 26) … NY: Armando (caution accumulation; through Oct. 26)
DISABLED LIST: KC: Ike Opara, Chance Myers (season-ending injury)

ALL-TIME (50 meetings): Sporting 19 wins (2 shootout), 64 goals… Red Bulls 19 wins (2 shootout), 61 goals… Ties 12
AT KC (26 meetings): Sporting 14 wins (2 shootout), 40 goals… Red Bulls 8 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals… Ties 4

2014 (MLS)
5/27: KC 1, NY 1 (Dovale 9 – Wright-Phillips 50)
9/6: NY 2, KC 1 (Wright-Phillips 11; Henry 52 – Dwyer 54)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry scored to send the Red Bulls on their way to a 2-1 win Sept. 6 at Red Bulls. Antonio Dovale scored early in the first half to put SKC ahead, but Wright-Phillips equalized early in the second half to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw May 27 at Sporting Park.
  • The Red Bulls have come away with points on their last three visits to Sporting Park. Sporting had come away with points on their last three visits to Red Bull Arena before the New York win in the last meeting.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. NY: P12 W4 L5 T3 … Mike Petke vs. KC: P4 W2 L1 T1


  • The Red Bulls took an early lead, after Sporting center back Matt Besler clipped Bradley Wright-Phillips with a sliding tackle, and referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the spot. Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 21st goal, firing an unstoppable shot to the left past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum for an 11th-minute lead.
  • The Red Bulls doubled the margin seven minutes into the second half. Taking a pass just outside the area on the left, Henry took advantage of some space at the top of the penalty area and thundered a shot into the far top corner past the full-stretch dive of Gruenebaum.
  • Sporting pulled back a goal two minutes later when Seth Sinovic whipped a ball in from the right flank that found Graham Zusi, who headed the ball across goal for Dwyer to scissor-kick home with an impressive side volley.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 65), Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula (Saer Sene 76), Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover 90).
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Andy Gruenebaum - Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum (Jorge Claros 70) - Paulo Nagamura (C.J. Sapong 85), Benny Feilhaber – Antonio Dovale (Sal Zizzo 58), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi.


Sporting Kansas City saw their brief two-game undefeated run come to an end, falling 2-1 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Sporting are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points from 33 games.


  • Union opened the scoring in the 45th minute. Brian Brown played a ball out wide to Cristian Maidana, made a run between the SKC center backs and then finished a perfectly placed return cross from Maidana.
  • But Sporting were level early in the second half. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath took down Soony Saad in the area in the 53rd minute to prevent a breakaway attempt, and referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot. Dom Dwyer easily converted the penalty kick for the equalizer.
  • The game-winner came in the 71st minute. Shortly after coming into the game, Pedro Ribeiro hit the back of the net, easily depositing a cross from Maidana, who was sprung free down the side by Sheanon Williams.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made five changes to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 at Sporting Park. Eric Kronberg came in between the posts for Andy Gruenebaum, Aurelien Collin and Seth Sinovic came into the back four for Kevin Ellis and Jacob Peterson, and Sal Zizzo and Soony Saad started in wide positions for Antonio Dovale and Graham Zusi.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Eric Kronberg - Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum - Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber - Sal Zizzo (Jacob Peterson 70), Dom Dwyer (Antonio Dovale 85), Soony Saad (Jimmy Medranda 78).


  • Sporting lost their first game following a win and a draw. It was their sixth defeat over the last nine matches. “These are all valuable lessons as we move into the postseason,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said.
  • Sporting are also guaranteed of finishing no better than third place in the Eastern Conference – which they will do with a victory. They will finish as low as fifth in the conference – and on the road for the Knockout Round match in the MLS Cup Playoffs – with a defeat and a Columbus Crew draw or victory.
  • “We need that momentum for the playoffs. New York’s a good team, that will be a tough game, but we’re at home,” said Dom Dwyer. “If we show up and play our best, then we should win the game. It’s a big game and we have to focus on that to pick up some momentum for playoffs.”
  • Dom Dwyer scored for a second consecutive match, his sixth goal in the last eight games. Dwyer now has 22 goals, second in MLS behind New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips, and has 23 goals across all competitions.
  • “We have a hungry team. We have guys that want to win. I have no doubt about that. I’ll stand and fight with these guys – they want it. They want to win,” Dwyer said. “I think we’re the sleeping giant right now and maybe people are starting to forget about us. That’s a bit different from where we were last year, but that’s how it is.”
  • Eric Kronberg returned between the posts following a two-match absence – his second start since July 6 – suffering a second consecutive defeat (SKC lost 3-2 to New England on Sept. 26).
  • Matt Besler did not feature after suffering a thigh bruise the week before. “I'm just trying to do everything I can to be ready to play. … At this point in the season, if I had something that was nagging at me a little bit, I'd be on the field,” Besler said. “It's simple for me. If I can run – if I'm physically able to run – I will be on the field and I will be playing.”
  • Graham Zusi was held out of the team for the match. “ I didn’t want to play Graham [Zusi] because he has a few knocks and pains, and I don’t want him to all of a sudden turn into an injury that ends up being weeks,” said Vermes. “So, really it’s about us trying to get into some form and get healthy bodies so that when we get to playoffs – at least the guys that are available and don’t have season-ending injuries – I can at least have those guys to pick from to put a team on the field.”
  • On Thursday, Sporting lost 2-0 to Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica in San José and were eliminated from the knockout stage following the defeat.
  • Here’s the Sporting team: Eric Kronberg; Igor Juliao (Jacob Peterson 45), Aurelien Collin, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic; Jorge Claros, Lawrence Olum, Benny Feilhaber (Soony Saad 41); Antonio Dovale, Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 65), C.J. Sapong


The New York Red Bulls saw their home winning streak come to an end after seven matches, falling 3-1 to the Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points from 33 matches on the season.


  • The Crew opener came in the 17th minute. Ethan Finlay hit a pass from the right side to Aaron Schoenfeld, and despite a lacking first touch it took him away from his marker and he turned and fired past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • The lead was doubled in the 34th minute when Finlay raced between a pair of Red Bulls defenders and latched onto a through ball from Tony Tchani before firing home from the right side of the box.
  • The Red Bulls pulled a goal back in the 58th minute. Lloyd Sam collected the ball and then impressively dribbled through a pair of defenders on the right flank, before slamming a rocket past Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark at the near post.
  • But the scoreline was complete in the 79th minute as Schoenfeld completed his brace, smashing a hard shot into the back of the net from close range after a feed from Finlay.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made three changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 3-1 at Red Bull Arena. Armando and Roy Miller came into the back four for Jamison Olave and Kosuke Kimura, and Peguy Luyindula started in midfield for Ruben Bover.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-3-1): Luis Robles - Richard Eckersley, Jamison Olave, Armando, Roy Miller - Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty (Ruben Bover 79) - Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula (Ambroise Oyongo 61), Thierry Henry - Bradley Wright-Phillips.


  • The Red Bulls saw their club-record seven-game home winning streak snapped with the defeat by Columbus, their first home loss since a 2-1 reversal by the Portland Timbers on May 24 (10 games).
  • “Not many teams – if any – come in and boss us around like that and they certainly did,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “Bad day at the office combined with self-inflicted scenarios for us. How many times in the first half did we just give the ball to them? Countless. There’s no excuses from us today. The first half was embarrassing.”
  • Said center back Jamison Olave: “It looked like we were sleeping at the start of the game. In the beginning, we gave away three, four, maybe eight, bad passes. We never responded well to that. We lacked a response, and that’s why things played out like that.”
  • The Red Bulls can now finish anywhere from third place to fifth in the Eastern Conference. They will finish in third with a win in Kansas City and a Columbus Crew loss to Philadelphia, or a win by six goals or more and a Columbus draw. A defeat or draw and they will be on the road for the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, in either Kansas City or Columbus.
  • “The only difficulty that comes from possibly playing [Columbus] again is the chance that we could have secured, in the very least, home-field advantage for a playoff game, and we could have jumped to third place. There’s no confidence thing or anything like that, there’s the fact that we could potentially go to Columbus for a play-in game, or, it could be go to Kansas City for a play-in game three days after we play them,” Petke said. “That’s the tough part to swallow. We had the opportunity before the game to sit back and realize where we could end up with a result, and we just couldn’t get it done.”
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips has one final chance to reach the MLS single-season goal-scoring mark. Wright-Phillips sits on 25 goals this season – two shy of the all-time mark – after being held without a goal vs. Columbus.
  • Lloyd Sam scored his fourth goal this season, his first since Sept. 10, making his 31st start out of 33 league matches this season.
  • “We didn’t seem to have the same sort of effort [like] we did in other games,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “Sure, there’s going to be moments where the quality isn’t there, but the effort usually can make up for it. When both of them are missing for huge stretches of a game, it’s very difficult to beat a good team like Columbus.”
  • On Wednesday, the Red Bulls closed out their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw with the Montréal Impact. Jack McInerney put the Impact ahead late, but Connor Lade’s equalizer six minutes from time left the points divided. The Red Bulls had already been eliminated from advancement to the knockout stage.
  • Here’s the Red Bulls team: Ryan Meara, Chris Duvall, Matt Miazga, Damien Perrinelle (Armando 64'), Kosuke Kimura, Connor Lade, Ian Christianson, Eric Stevenson, Ruben Bover, Marius Obekop, Saer Sene (Ambroise Oyongo 72')
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Sporting KC
NY Red Bulls

Season Goal Leaders

Season Stats

Sporting Kansas CityNew York Red Bulls
33Games Played33
39Goals Conceded50
159Shots on Target154
489Fouls committed385
456Fouls suffered341

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