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Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs New York Red Bulls

Photo: Laurence Horton

Sporting Kansas City welcome New York Red Bulls to Sporting Park for the final fixture in this year’s MLS regular season.

It’s a game that has implications for both Eastern Conference sides as they look to avoid the wildcard playoff fixture.

Victory for Kansas City guarantees them a third place finish meaning that they will definitely avoid the wildcard game – a draw could be enough for them but they would be relying on Columbus Crew failing to win in their game at home to Philadelphia Union.

New York Red Bulls have to win this game in order to stand any chance of finishing in the top three.

[Dom Dwyer: Can Sporting’s top goalscorer inspire them to victory?]

Since an impressive run of form in the middle of the season that saw them go eight games without defeat, winning six and drawing two, Sporting Kansas City have hit the metaphorical wall.

After that purple patch, they’ve only managed three wins in 11 games and have suffered seven defeats in that time.

Fortunately for Kansas City, they had done enough beforehand to ensure that they’ve still secured a playoff position.

Sporting Kansas City’s home form: Played 16 – Won 6 – Drawn 6 – Lost 4

[Thierry Henry: One of the main men for New York Red Bulls]

It has very much been a season of ups and downs for New York Red Bulls as they haven’t managed to string together a strong run of form at any stage.

Just as it looked like they were getting going, they would lose a game and it would disrupt the run they were on.

Their form away from home has certainly been an issue in this campaign with just two victories on the road from 16 attempts, so they will need to improve on that.

New York Red Bulls away form: Played 16 – Won 2 – Drawn 7 – Lost 7

Neither of these sides will be particularly high on confidence going in to it but they both know the importance of this fixture, so it should make for a good game.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – the Red Bulls forward is still desperately chasing the record as the top goalscorer in an MLS season although it’s going to take a minor miracle because he needs a hat-trick.

But with the bit between his teeth, he may put in that extra effort and it could inspire New York to victory.

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City haven’t beaten New York Red Bulls at home since October 2011, when they ran out 2-0 winners.

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: W/L/D/W/L

New York Red Bulls last five: W/L/W/W/L

Prediction: Sporting Kansas City 1 – 1 New York Red Bulls

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About Ben Ashton (226 Articles)
MLS and Premier League reporter. Sub-editor and writer for mlsgb.com. All views are my own.

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