Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park – Thursday, July 6 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)
Match Odds: Sporting KC 4/7 – Draw 14/5 – Philadelphia 9/2
Sporting Kansas City welcome Philadelphia Union to Children’s Mercy Park for their lone meeting of the season on Thursday night. The hosts will look to go into the Gold Cup break with another victory to leave them clear at the top of the Western Conference.
SKC had to settle for a home draw with Portland on Saturday. Many will still feel that was a positive result given the key absentees on international duty.
Peter Vermes knows his team are in a strong position at the midway point of the campaign. He will fully expect his team to continue to set the pace at the top of the West for the remainder of the season.
Sporting Kansas City’s impressive home form makes them strong favourites for Thursday’s game. They haven’t lost at home in MLS for over a year. Defensively, they’ve only shipped four goals in nine games at Children’s Mercy Park this term.
Philadelphia arrive off the back of Saturday’s 3-0 win over New England. That victory put them back into a position to challenge for a playoff spot in the East.
However, they still have a lot to work on if they are to be playing postseason soccer this year. Inconsistency has prevented them from building any form, although things have been steadily building since May.
Jim Curtin would love to head back to Philly with at least a point from Thursday’s clash. They’ve only won one of their last eight away games in all competitions. But their record in Kansas City isn’t all that bad.
In eight trips to SKC, the Union have lost four, won two and drawn two. Impressively, they’ve scored on their last five visits, winning as many as they’ve lost in that time.
Sporting KC will once again be without key trio Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer. All three are with the USMNT for the Gold Cup. Roger Espinoza will miss out as a result of yellow card accumulation.
Maurice Edu, Fabian Herbers and Warren Creavalle all remain out for the Union. Brian Carroll and Richie Marquez are listed as doubts. Alejandro Bedoya is away with the USMNT, while Andre Blake is due to meet up with the Jamaica squad so John McCarthy will take over in goal.
Sporting Kansas City vs Philadelphia Union: Key Points
Sporting KC’s form: W/D/D/W/D
Philadelphia Union’s form: L/L/L/W/W
Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City are unbeaten at home in MLS for over 13 months. They have gone 18 league games without defeat, winning 13 of those games.
Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The SKC midfielder made a speedy return from a potentially worrying ankle injury at the weekend. He will now look to lead the hosts to victory with so many key players away with the USMNT.
Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Philadelphia Union – Sporting KC would likely prove too strong for Philadelphia if they were at full strength. But the absences of Besler, Zusi and Dwyer significantly weaken them. The Union will fancy their chances of leaving with a point and that’s how we see it going. Score draw.