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Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 8
Children’s Mercy Park - Kansas City
April 20 - 9 pm ET
WATCH: TSN2, ESPN+

Sporting Kansas City extended their unbeaten streak to six matches on Sunday, rallying to draw the Seattle Sounders, 2-2, while Vancouver Whitecaps FC is looking to bounce back from consecutive losses, including a 2-0 home defeat to LAFC in Week 7.

The Whitecaps have won back-to-back game against Sporting for the first time in franchise history. They had just one win in their first 10 MLS matches against SKC (6L-3D).

Sporting Kansas City   

Graham Zusi redeemed himself for a self-proclaimed mistake that led to Cristian Roldan’s go-ahead goal, by netting the equalizer five minutes later as Sporting (4-1-2) settled for a 2-2 draw with winless Seattle Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park.

It was Zusi’s second goal of the season after failing to find the back of the net in 2017, but he wasn’t in much of a celebratory mode in the Sporting locker room afterward.

“I’m too [ticked] about giving up the second goal myself,” Zusi told reporters after the game. “That second goal was on me for sure. I can’t even think about my goal at this point.”

With Felipe Gutierrez out for a second consecutive game with an injured hip, Peter Vermes went with an unchanged starting XI from the 2-0 road win over the LA Galaxy.

It was a bit of a step back for SKC, especially defensively, after back-to-back shutout victories.

“We were reactionary; we weren’t anticipating a lot of plays,” Vermes said. “I’m not telling you we were horrible, but I just don’t think we were on top of our game. We didn’t bring our A-game today for sure.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: M - Felipe Gutierrez (hip)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda — Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Yohan Croizet — Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi

  • Notes: Zusi’s goal against Seattle was his second in his last five league appearances, after previously going 26 league games without a goal. … Following last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Seattle, Sporting are now unbeaten in their last six league games (4W-2D). Sporting conceded multiple goals six times in 34 regular season games in 2017. This year, they have conceded multiple goals in five of their seven regular season games.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

One day after forward Kei Kamara was ruled out with an adductor strain, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3-3-1) had few answers in the attacking third in a 2-0 loss to LAFC, their second consecutive defeat to a Western Conference foe after falling 2-1 at Real Salt Lake.

Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting XI, bringing on Erik Hurtado for the injured Kamara, returning Russell Teibert to the No. 6 role and going with Cristian Techera on the right wing.

Robinson said he put the loss on his shoulders for not adjusting tactically to Kamara’s injury, which occurred in the final five minutes of training.

“Maybe after the adjustment of Kei going down on Thursday, I should have rethought it and played a different lineup based upon Kei because Kei is a focal point,” Robinson said. “But I didn’t and that’s why I took responsibility.”

Without Kamara for at least a few weeks, Robinson said a now-healthy Anthony Blondell will be given a shot up front.

“He's a hard-working player,” Robinson said of Blondell. “He likes to run in behind. [He’s] probably not as good at holding the ball up as Kei, but there's not many in this league that are."

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Jordon Mutch (left hamstring strain), F - Kei Kamara (adductor strain); PROBABLE: D - Sean Franklin (quad strain)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Stefan Marinovic — Jakob Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Aaron Maund, Marcel de Jong — Efrain Juarez, Felipe, Yordy Reyna — Alphonso Davies, Anthony Blondell, Cristian Techera

  • Notes: Felipe was fouled six times and committed zero fouls last weekend in Vancouver’s loss to LAFC. It was the first time all season that a player has been fouled at least six times without committing at least one foul in a game. It only happened nine times in MLS 2017. … Vancouver has failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six away MLS matches (2W-4L), conceding an average of 2.2 goals per match.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Sporting Kansas City 6 wins, 19 goals … Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3 wins, 16 goals … Ties 3
  • At Kansas City: Sporting 4 wins, 11 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 7 goals … Ties 1
  • Last meeting at Kansas City: Sporting Kansas City 0, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 (Sept. 30, 2017)

Officials 

Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Logan Brown, Cameron Blanchard
4th Official: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic

Read More

Current Form

Sporting KC
W
W
D
W
W
D
Vancouver
W
L
D
W
L
L

Season Stats

Sporting Kansas CityVancouver Whitecaps FC
7Games Played7
4Wins3
1Losses3
2Draws1
14Goals8
11Goals Conceded11
76Shots53
41Shots on Target21
77Fouls committed72
59Fouls suffered82
9Offside17
51Corners25

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
SKC11311142
VAN2230081.1
01234+Avg
SKC111101.5
VAN201000.7
01234+Avg
SKC002012.7
VAN022001.5

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
SKC20410111.6
VAN13201111.6
01234+Avg
SKC103001.5
VAN111001
01234+Avg
SKC101101.7
VAN021012
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