MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Children’s Mercy Park – Saturday, March 12 – 20:30 ET (01:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 3/1

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in an all Western Conference MLS clash at Sporting Park on Saturday night.

SKC picked up an excellent 1-0 away win against the Seattle Sounders in their opening game last weekend thanks to an unlikely debut goal from centre-back Nuno Coelho.

Although the Sounders were reduced to ten men after 41 minutes, Peter Vermes will still be delighted to see his side pick up an extremely valuable three points at a ground where few teams tend to win in MLS.

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It should mean that SKC will be heading into this game full of confidence, and will be looking to win their first two games of an MLS season for the first time since 2012.

Vancouver Whitecaps provided one of the most entertaining games of the opening weekend, although they will be disappointed to be on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller as they lost 3-2 at home to Montreal Impact.

Goals from defenders Jordan Harvey and Kendall Watson couldn’t prevent a disappointing defeat, and the Whitecaps players have to quickly dust themselves down in preparation for a tough away game.

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Carl Robinson’s side have won just one of their last nine games in MLS (D3, L5), carrying over results from 2015, so he will be hoping they can find some form, starting here.

Sporting Kansas City won both games against Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015, with the most recent clash ending 4-3 in a pulsating contest at Sporting Park in August – the other victory was a narrow 1-0 success at BC Place in July.

Team News

Sporting Kansas City have a whole host of injury concerns. They are likely to be without defenders Ike Opara (thigh) and Seth Sinovic (neck), while midfielders Justin Mapp (toe), Brad Davis (groin), Benny Feilhaber (abdomen) and Paulo Nagamura (leg) are also expected to miss out.

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Vancouver Whitecaps won’t be able to call upon the injured Christian Dean (foot) and Russell Teibert (calf). Octavio Rivero was the club’s top goalscorer in 2015 and will be looking to open his account for 2016. He managed six shots, with four on-target last weekend, but to no avail.

Key Points

Sporting Kansas City’s MLS form: W

Vancouver Whitecaps’ MLS form: L

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have never won away at Sporting Kansas City (D1, L2).

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – SKC will be desperate for their striker to start firing on all cylinders this year. He was the leading goalscorer at the club last season with 12 goals, but you feel that any true success this year could hinge on what Dwyer can produce for his side. They’ll be hopeful he can contribute a number of goals closer to the 22 he scored in 2014. The first home game of the new season may provide the perfect platform.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – SKC have never lost a game at home to the Whitecaps and will be full of confidence after their opening day win. But Vancouver have a potent attacking force and will believe they can take at least a point from this one. Whatever the outcome, this should be an entertaining clash.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Sporting Park – Sunday, October 25 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 6/4 – Draw 5/2 – LA Galaxy 13/8

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome LA Galaxy to Sporting Park for a crucial MLS Decision Day encounter on Sunday evening as both sides still have it all to play for.

SKC are currently sixth in the Western Conference and clinging on to a playoff spot by the skin of their teeth with just one point separating them from San Jose in seventh.

Their fate is still in their own hands and they know that a win in this game is vital in order to secure a place in the postseason – a draw may still be enough but they would be relying on San Jose failing to beat FC Dallas or Seattle Sounders losing against Real Salt Lake.

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Peter Vermes doesn’t bring his team into this game in particularly high spirits after a poor run of form. They’ve lost their last two games without scoring and have won just two of their last 11 (D2, L7).

Sporting Kansas City’s MLS record: P33 – W13 – D9 – L11

LA Galaxy arrive in Kansas having experienced similar fortunes to their opponents recently. Since a run of four straight victories through August, the Galaxy have managed just one win in their last six (D2, L3).

Most disappointingly, they were convincingly beaten 5-2 at home to Portland Timbers last time out in MLS, although they did pick up a 1-1 draw away to Guatemalan side Comunicaciones in midweek, which saw them win their CONCACAF Champions League group stage and advance to the quarter-final.

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Despite a run of poor results, Bruce Arena’s side are still second in the Western Conference and will clinch an automatic semi-final berth with victory – a draw would be enough if Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers both fail to win.

Whatever the outcome, LA Galaxy will be in the postseason having already secured a top six finish.

LA Galaxy’s MLS record: P33 – W14 – D9 – L10

The last meeting between these two sides saw LA Galaxy edge a 2-1 home victory back in April. The last clash at Sporting Park was a 2-1 success for SKC in July 2014.

Team News

SKC have a number of doubts as Ike Opara (achilles), Seth Sinovic (hamstring), Amadou Dia (knee) and Roger Espinoza (foot) are all struggling with injuries.

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LA Galaxy will be without injured goalkeeper Brian Perk (ankle) and Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion). Todd Dunivant (foot) and Baggio Husidic (leg) are also doubts.

Key Points

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

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have only kept one clean sheet away from home in MLS this season.

Key Player: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy have scored more goals than any other side in the Western Conference and Keane is one of the main reasons why. He has 19 goals and eight assists this season and has netted in his last three. He will be hoping for more of the same on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 LA Galaxy – Neither side comes into the game with any real form to boast about. As a result, we could see a tight affair with both sides relying on other results to decide their fate.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Sporting Park – Friday, May 29 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST – Saturday, May 30)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – FC Dallas 23/10

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas clash in MLS for the second time this season when they meet at Sporting Park on Friday night.

The hosts are currently sixth in the Western Conference and have recorded some impressive results in recent weeks, with a 4-2 win at home to New England Revolution, followed by a 0-0 draw away at Seattle in their double gameweek.

If you had offered SKC head coach Peter Vermes four points from those two games beforehand, he would’ve almost definitely been happy with that outcome.

The two good results last week extended SKC’s unbeaten run to five games in a period where they also picked up a valuable point away at DC United. They’ve now lost just one of their last ten (W4, D5).

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FC Dallas are second in the Western Conference and come into this game off the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat away at Montreal Impact which marked their third loss of the season.

This will be the second of five consecutive games on the road for Oscar Pareja‘s side as they look to get through this tough period of the season.

Dallas will be slightly concerned over Fabian Castillo‘s availability after he missed training on Wednesday and will be hoping he’s fit enough for action come kickoff time.

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These two sides met on week two of this season in a game that saw FC Dallas run out 3-1 winners at Toyota Stadium thanks to two goals from Blas Perez and a Fabian Castillo strike.

That win for Dallas was the first time they’d beaten SKC in four attempts, drawing two and losing one of the previous three meetings.

Team News

Sporting Kansas City defenders Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic and Chance Myers are all out injured. Roger Espinoza, Bernardo Anor, Marcel de Jong and Dom Dwyer are also doubts in an SKC squad that continues to look slightly depleted.

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FC Dallas will continue to be without defender Stephen Keel, while, as mentioned, Fabian Castillo is a slight doubt.

Key Points

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

FC Dallas’ last five: D/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: There have been 32 goals in games involving Sporting Kansas City – that’s the same number of goals in games involving FC Dallas and is higher than any other teams in the Western Conference, so we can hope for more of the same.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – With more assists (7) than any other player in MLS this season, as well as chipping in with three goals, stopping Feilhaber from pulling the strings is going to be a tough task for FC Dallas.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 FC Dallas – It’s tough to separate these two sides coming into this. If Dwyer isn’t fit for SKC then it will be a big blow and equally for FC Dallas if Castillo misses out. The hosts are in good form but Dallas will need to recover from their poor result in Montreal.

New England goalkeeper says penalty decision ‘changed the game’

New England Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton played his first MLS game of the season against Sporting Kansas City last night in the absence of first-choice shot-stopper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Knighton couldn’t help his side avoid defeat as the Revs lost 4-2, which put an end to their nine-game unbeaten run in which they’d won five and drawn four. The 30-year-old ‘keeper feels New England paid the price for missed chances and points to the penalty decision as the turning point.

“We started the game the way we wanted to and got the early goal, there was a rough patch for ten or 15 minutes and they capitalised on their chances,” Knighton told the New England Revolution official YouTube channel.

“I think the penalty kind of changed the game. We’re in it still at 2-1 and we had chances at the other end that we just didn’t capitalise on. The penalty call changed the game and makes it 3-1.”

PICTURE: Knighton in action. (Photo via http://www.revolutionsoccer.net/)

PICTURE: Knighton in action. (Photo via http://www.revolutionsoccer.net/)

Despite the result, Knighton wasn’t critical of his teammates and has immediately turned his attentions to the next game.

“I thought the guys had a lot of effort tonight and we worked hard to get it back but obviously we came up a bit short.”

“Every game’s massive in the Eastern Conference and playing against DC, your rival, we’re going to have our full force of fans at Gillette Stadium and we’re looking to get three points and stay top of the table.”

Can New England Revolution bounce back when they face DC United on Saturday evening?

Dom Dwyer ‘very pleased’ with SKC’s win over New England Revolution

Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer scored an excellent goal to make it 1-1 during his side’s 4-2 win over New England Revolution in an MLS clash at Sporting Park last night and was understandably happy with the performance and result.

“We were very pleased. We were disappointed to let a couple of goals in but we battled back and we did well,” Dwyer told Sporting Kansas City’s official YouTube channel.

“It was a very hard-fought game and credit to New England, they did well, but I think we deserved the three points tonight.”

The 24-year-old won the penalty that led to SKC’s third goal and his equaliser was his fourth goal in 11 appearances this season and the win lifted them up to fifth place in the Western Conference.

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Dwyer believes it was “about time” SKC put in that type of performance against a strong side to secure an impressive and convincing victory in the club’s 100th game at Sporting Park.

“We needed something like this and we needed our luck to change a little bit. We were fighting against it tonight and I think we put in a very solid performance,” the Englishman added.

Sporting Kansas City travel to face the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night in the second match of their double gameweek.

The win over the Revs will give them a huge confidence boost heading into that clash and allows them to play with a sense of freedom on the night as they would’ve probably been happy with three points from the two games this week.

How impressed were you with Dom Dwyer’s goal and Sporting Kansas City’s performance?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution

Venue: Sporting Park – Wednesday, May 20th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST – Thursday, May 21st)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 12/5

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome New England Revolution to Sporting Park on Wednesday night for the only MLS regular season meeting between the two sides this season.

The hosts have endured an inconsistent start to the 2015 campaign with a record of three wins, five draws and two defeats from their opening ten games.

SKC’s most recent game saw them earn an impressive draw away at DC United on May 9. They were set to play Colorado Rapids on Sunday, but that game was postponed due to poor weather conditions.

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Peter Vermes‘ side have recorded just one win in their last five, which came in their most recent home fixture against Chicago Fire as a goal from Paulo Nagamura secured a 1-0 victory.

New England Revolution lost their opening two games of the season but have since been on an impressive nine-game unbeaten run (W5, D4), although they are without a win in their last two after a 2-2 draw with Orlando and a 1-1 draw at home to Toronto.

Jay Heaps will be delighted with the turnaround from his side and will be desperate to return to winning ways against a side that they recorded three victories against in the 2014 MLS season.

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The most recent meeting between the two sides was an entertaining 3-2 win for the Revs on the same ground back in September.

Team News

Sporting Kansas City’s Ike Opara, Marcel De Jong and Graham Zusi are all unavailable through injury, while there’s also doubts over Chance Myers and Paulo Nagamura.

New England Revolution will be without long-term absentee Darrius Barnes and Daigo Kobayashi is out with a hamstring strain.

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Key Points

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

New England Revolution’s last five: W/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City haven’t suffered a home defeat so far in 2015 (W2, D3).

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – SKC’s midfield maestro has enjoyed an impressive start to the season with five assists and two goals to his name from the opening ten games.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 New England Revolution – SKC are unbeaten at home and will be desperate to preserve that record, while the Revs will prove to be very tough opposition and they’re currently playing well. A draw seems the most likely result.

From Mexico to Sporting Park: Sporting Kansas City supporters among most dedicated in MLS

By Ryan Wright

Soccer is constantly gaining popularity in the United States but Major League Soccer still has so much room to continue its growth. Although you would never know that by visiting Sporting Park.

“Soccer Capital of America” is plastered everywhere inside and around the Sporting Kansas City stadium. Each match, Sporting KC fans fill Sporting Park and are loud for the entire 90 minutes.

Sporting KC’s loyal fan base support their team through thick and thin and one of the most notable examples of this was seen last year during the final of the MLS Cup. More than 20,000 fans attended the match against Real Salt Lake despite the bitterly cold 12 degree weather.

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The Kansas City Cauldron is the largest Sporting Kansas City supporters group. Under the Kansas City Cauldron, there’s an umbrella of several other supporters groups – most are based in the Midwest. Two of these supporters groups are 417 Loyal and the Wichita Wanderers. 417 Loyal is based in Springfield, MO and the Wichita Wanderers are based in Wichita, KS.

Sam Ringenberg of Springfield, MO and 417 Loyal became a soccer fan in the spring of 2006 while studying abroad in London. He has supported Sporting Kansas City since they were called the Kansas City Wizards.

“Kansas City has become the Soccer Capital of America for several reasons. First must be the success of Sporting KC, and all of their affiliates. They are growing soccer throughout the Midwest, and will make the next generation of US Soccer even more successful,” he said.

“The majority of soccer fans living in the US follow other leagues, or international soccer more than they do MLS. But Kansas City has that perfect mix of supporting their local club, while being knowledgeable and passionate about the world’s game too,” Ringenberg continued.

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Over the past few years, it’s become obvious that Kansas City supports Sporting KC as strongly as it does the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and the Kansas City Royals (MLB).

Matthew Isaacson, also of Springfield, MO and 417 Loyal says: “It is actually a pretty recent phenomenon. I remember going to games at Arrowhead where there were only a couple thousand in attendance.

“I think the city and the surrounding region support Sporting because of the world class stadium they play in, and the attitude of the players and ownership towards the fans. It’s affordable entertainment and the players are still approachable. It also helps that they are winning and have international level players on the roster,” Isaacson continued.

Chris Baldwin of Wichita, Kansas, and the Wichita Wanderers became interested in soccer during the 2010 World Cup and has been a fan of Sporting KC for four years.

He says: “I think part of why Kansas City has supported the club so strongly is that Sporting KC gave them a winning team when the Royals and the Chiefs weren’t doing so hot.”

Some fans have even travelled as far as Mexico to support Sporting KC. This past March, Sam Ringenberg’s brother, Thomas, traveled to Mexico to see Kansas City take on Cruz Azul of Liga MX. It was a CONCACAF Champions League match and Sporting KC fell to Cruz Azul, 5-1.

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Ringenberg, a graduate student at the University of Kansas, planned his spring break around attending the match.

He said: “The Sporting game at Estadio Azul was really amazing. Sure, we ended up getting eliminated, but we were playing arguably the best soccer club on the continent at an altitude much different than KC, so a loss I think is forgivable.”

Ringenberg and his girlfriend were the only Sporting KC fans in the stadium. But according to Ringenberg, the Cruz Azul fans were cordial, despite a few whistles and boos.

“We were celebrities at the stadium, we had a line of 30-40 kids waiting to take pictures with us and our Sporting KC scarf,” Ringenberg said.

On September 26, the same night that the Royals clinched their first playoff berth in 29 years, Sporting Kansas City had a match against the New England Revolution. Despite the important game the Royals had, Sporting Park was filled to the brim and was as loud as ever.

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During the post-game press conference, Peter Vermes, manager of Sporting KC said: “We’re part of the Kansas City community. In the past we were fighting for a place in the sports landscape in Kansas City. We have our own niche.

“Success brings people in and they’re proud to be a part of it. When fans understand that our team goes after it for 90 minutes, they come back,” Vermes continued.

Unfortunately, Sporting KC lost in the MLS Playoffs this season, falling at the first hurdle to the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference knockout round. However, supporters are anxiously awaiting next season and according to football.com the club currently has a 6,000 person waiting list for season tickets.

Does Sporting Kansas City have one of the support bases in MLS?

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

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.

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[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

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[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

Kansas City stroll to the top of the Eastern Conference

By Jamie Ives

Sporting Kansas City topped the Eastern Conference last night, with a seemingly routine performance from last seasons MLS Cup champions, in which they beat the Montreal Impact 3-0 away from home.

Englishman Dom Dwyer grabbed another brace against the Impact, just as he did earlier in the season when these two met.

Paulo Nagamura chipped in with the other goal as Sporting took three points away from the Stage Saputo.

Much of the game belonged to Kansas City as they had a very impressive 78% of the possession. A mean feat in any game.

Dom Dwyer highlighted the dominance on Twitter after the game:

The task was made much easier when Collen Warner was sent off in the sixteenth minute for handball on the goalline that prevented a certain goal, and Kansas were awarded a penalty.

Up stepped Dwyer to bury it in the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the season.

The lead was doubled in the thirty-fourth minute when a cross from the right by Chance Myers evaded everyone, but Nagamura was waiting at the back post and his scuffed shot found the far corner.

The second goal had pretty much sealed the Impacts fate, but Kansas City went on to get a third through a beautifully worked goal from Dwyer again.

(Photo: Joel Lemay/ Agence QMI)

Dom Dwyer celebrates after scoring another brace against Montreal (Photo: Joel Lemay/ Agence QMI)

Playing out from the back, the ball found Antonio Rodriguez, who played an intricate through ball which Dwyer finished superbly.

The game was all but over as USMNT star Graham Zusi was substituted, but a late chance fell to Seth Sinovic who fired over from no more than six yards.

The Impact also had a late opportunity to get on the scoreboard, with a Justin Mapp strike missing the near post by inches.

Sporting Kansas City now top the Eastern Conference but will have to deal with the imminent losses of Zusi and star centre-half Matt Besler, who seem certain to go to the World Cup with the USMNT.

Montreal will be licking their wounds after another heavy defeat at the hands of Kansas, and will be looking to overturn the 2-1 deficit in their Canadian Championship second leg on Wednesday against FC Edmonton.

Highlights via Major League’s Soccer’s official YouTube channel: