Columbus Crew SC vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Columbus Crew SC vs. Sporting Kansas City
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 27
Mapfre Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Sunday, Sept. 10 – 1 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, ESPN Deportes in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada
During the summer months, it looked like Crew SC might flirt with the Eastern Conference playoff line. Sporting KC seemed poised to win lead the pack out West, but two wins in eight games let all three Cascadia clubs keep things tight. On Sunday at Mapfre Stadium, both sides have an opportunity to leapfrog up the table ... given they take all three points.
For Crew SC, the attack was never in question, but a inconsistent defense that's given up more goals (42) than any other current playoff team caused frustration from week to week. They've given up a goal or less in four straight and took 10 points as a result. Against Kansas City, which have been shut out nine times on the road this year, tops in MLS, perhaps a zero is in the cards while Ola Kamara and Justin Meram chase goals.
Truthfully, nil-nil might suit Peter Vermes and Sporting KC after a midweek match in New York City decided by a late Jack Harrison strike. Gerso has been solid, Latif Blessing has been a difference maker, but the pressure is on Diego Rubio to lead the line, especially after the potential signing of Kevin Parsemain hit a roadblock. If they can't score, they cant win, and only five points separate the Western Conference's six playoff teams, meaning there is very little margin for error.
Columbus Crew SC
- Suspended: None
- International duty: None
- Injury report: OUT: D - Gaston Sauro (left PCL surgery, out for season), M - Ben Swanson (right ankle surgery, out for season); QUESTIONABLE: M - Niko Hansen (thigh injury), M - Artur (left thigh strain), F - Ola Kamara (left lower leg contusion), D - Waylon Francis (left thigh strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Zack Steffen – Waylon Francis, Lalas Abubakar, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful – Mohammed Abu, Wil Trapp – Justin Meram, Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos – Ola Kamarab
Notes: Crew SC has won four consecutive regular season home games. They have not won five consecutive MLS home games since a seven-game winning streak from August 16, 2014 to March 14, 2015. ... Ola Kamara leads MLS with 11 big chances missed so far this season. Only four other players in the league have missed more than eight big chances.
Sporting Kansas City
- Suspended: None
- Int'l absence: None
- Injuries: F - Cameron Porter (broken fibula and ligament damage in right ankle 8/2, out for season)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): GK: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Ilie, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber; Latif Blessing, Diego Rubio, Gerso
Notes: Sporting Kansas City has averages 1.4 goals for, 0.6 goals against and 1.9 points in the 17 matches Graham Zusi has started this season. In the nine matches Zusi has not, those numbers drop to 0.9, 1.0 and 0.9, respectively. ... Sporting has lost their last two road games in MLS play by identical 1-0 scorelines. They have been shut out nine times in road games this season. No team was shut out on the road more than 10 times in 2016.
Columbus has lost six of their last seven regular season games against Sporting Kansas City (1W) and have been outscored 16-8 across those seven matches.
- Overall: Crew SC 22 wins (83 goal) … Sporting KC 25 wins (84 goals) … Ties 6
- At Columbus: Crew SC 13 wins (43 goals) … Sporting KC 11 wins (40 goals) … Ties 4
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Alan Kelly