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Preview: Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | MLS is Back Tournament, Round of 16

2020 MLS is Back Tournament – Round of 16
Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Sun., July 26 – 11:00 PM ET

TV: FS1, TUDN, FOX Deportes; TSN, TVAS in Canada

STREAMING: FOX Sports App, TUDN App; TSN App, TVAS App in Canada

Both Sporting KC and Vancouver Whitecaps emerged from early adversity in Orlando to save their best for last and claim a place in the Knockout Stage. After neither team managed to make the playoffs last year, opportunity knocks to show that better fortunes lie in store for 2020.

Over the series history, Sporting KC hold the clear advantage in regular-season play, compiling a 10W-3L-4D record in a matchup dating back to 2011. Their most recent encounter came on the opening day of the 2020 season when SKC emerged convincing winners in Vancouver. The two sides have never met in the playoffs.

Sporting Kansas City

After letting a one-goal lead slip and seeing goalkeeper Tim Melia sent off in an opening defeat to Minnesota, Sporting KC showed impressive resolve to bounce back by beating Colorado in a five-goal thriller and then see off Real Salt Lake to claim the top spot in Group D. Sporting's play has been spearheaded by Mexican striker Alan Pulido, who has shown just why KC spent a club-record fee to bring him in during the offseason. While he only has one goal in three games, Pulido's three assists demonstrate the quality of his all-round game. 

Project Starting XI

Updated team roster

  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Felipe Gutierrez (M) - knee surgery
    • OUT: Andreu Fontas (D) - quad strain
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Vancouver Whitecaps

Through 242 minutes of the MLS is Back Tournament, Vancouver seemed to be on their way out. They were tied 0-0 with Chicago Fire FC after losing their first two matches and were down their top two goalkeepers and the five players who did not make the trip to Orlando. Then the ‘Caps came out of a weather delay and scored twice on the Fire. They held onto that lead to finish third in Group B and earn a place in the Round of 16. Coming off a shutout, pressure will be on the Vancouver defense and young goalkeeper Thomas Hasal to hold the line and wait for moments of magic from Yordy Reyna and Cristian Dajome.

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Janio Bikel (M) - left adductor strain
    • OUT: Eric Godoy (D) - right quadricep strain
    • OUT: Maxime Crépeau (GK) - fractured left thumb
    • QUESTIONABLE: Jasser Khmiri (D) - left knee injury
    • QUESTIONABLE: David Milinković (M) - right hamstring strain
    • UNAVAILABLE: Lucas Cavallini (F)
    • UNAVAILABLE: Fredy Montero (F)
    • UNAVAILABLE: Georges Mukumbilwa (M)
    • UNAVAILABLE: Tosaint Ricketts (F)
    • UNAVAILABLE: Andy Rose (D)
    • UNAVAILABLE: Bryan Meredith (GK)
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Series Matchup

  • Sporting KC: 9 wins, 33 goals
  • Whitecaps: 3 wins, 18 goals
  • 4 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Victor Rivas
  • Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Ian McKay
  • 4th Official: Guido Gonzales Jr
  • VAR: Fotis Bazakos
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