MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Sporting Kansas City

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

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, August 8 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Sporting Kansas City 23/10

Match Preview

Toronto FC host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night after an impressive 4-1 win over Orlando City in midweek in which Sebastian Giovinco bagged another hat-trick in a stellar display.

Toronto seem much more of a threat this year and with a full lineup available in the playoffs there is strong possibility they could go all the way.

This looks to be the year they finally make the postseason and they need to continue winning games, especially at home, to ensure that remains the case.

Toronto FC’s record in MLS: P21 – W9 – D4 – L8

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Sporting Kansas City have had a strong and consistent season so far and will want to reinforce their claim for the Western Conference title with another victory in this one.

They are five points off Vancouver in top spot in the West, but have three games in hand, and look on track to win a very competitive conference by the end of October.

With strong performances from Benny Feilhaber and Krisztian Nemeth they have been extremely impressive in the final third and will trouble Toronto on Saturday.

Sporting Kansas City’s record in MLS: P20 – W9 – D7 – L4

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The last meeting between the two ended 4-1 to SKC, and the visitors will take confidence from the fact that they have won three of the last four clashes at BMO Field.

Team News

Toronto FC are without Mark Bloom and Luke Moore through injury. Nick Hagglund, Michael Bradley, Clement Simonin and Ashtone Morgan are all doubts. Jozy Altidore is suspended.

Sporting Kansas City are still missing star defenders Ike Opara and Jalil Anibaba through injuries. Seth Sinovic is a doubt with concussion. Roger Espinoza and Dom Dwyer are suspended.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: D/W/D/L/W

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

Key Stat: SKC have won eight of their last ten against Toronto in all competitions.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian forward has been the best player so far this season and has transformed Toronto into a real force in MLS. Expect him to play a huge part in this one off the back of his hat-trick on Wednesday.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 Sporting Kansas City – Both sides have been impressive recently and SKC will push hard for three points, but Toronto look too good to lose at the moment so we expect honours to be even in what should be an entertaining one.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Sporting Park – Saturday, August 1 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Houston Dynamo 16/5

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City will want to continue their impressive home record on Saturday night as they welcome Houston Dynamo to Sporting Park in a Western Conference battle between the two sides moved over from the East last year.

Unbeaten at home this season, SKC have been in sensational form as performance after performance sees them now contenders for a highly coveted Western Conference title.

The form of Benny Feilhaber and star forward Krisztian Nemeth has inspired Kansas City so far and a solid finish to the season could see them in a great position going into the playoffs, with the Supporters’ Shield also a real possibility.

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Sporting Kansas City’s 2015 record in MLS: P19 – W9 – D6 – L4 

Houston Dynamo will want to follow up an impressive 3-0 victory over LA Galaxy last time out with another great result in Kansas City this weekend.

Having struggled to find consistency this year, Houston have impressed in places but progress has been halted with indifferent form along the way.

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Away from home they have been below par and form suggests they may fall short on Saturday in what will be a real test.

Houston Dynamo’s 2015 record in MLS: P21 – W7 – D6 – L8

The reverse fixture back in April ended 4-4 in a crazy game at BBVA Compass Stadium so if this one’s anything like that, you’re not going to want to miss it!

Team News

Sporting Kansas City are still without Ike Opara, while Jalil Anibaba, Seth Sinovic and Bernardo Anor are all doubts. Graham Zusi should return to the starting line-up after being away with the USMNT.

Houston Dynamo will be missing Oscar Boniek Garcia and Jermaine Taylor through injury. Rob Lovejoy is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Erick Torres is now with the team and could start following his appearance last week.

Key Points

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

Houston Dynamo’s last five: L/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City have won their last six home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Krisztian Nemeth – SKC forward Nemeth has been sensational so far this season and is always a threat on goal. We expect him to be influential on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Houston are a better side under Owen Coyle this season, but Sporting Kansas City are becoming harder to beat all the time and should pick up three points here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Sporting Park – Saturday, July 18 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Sporting KC 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Montreal 4/1

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City host Montreal Impact on Saturday night in a game between two sides that should be higher in the standings than their positions indicate.

Sporting KC have the best points-per-game record in MLS after 19 weeks but sit in sixth place in the Western Conference, two points behind Seattle in first with two games in hand.

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Montreal are down in eighth in the Eastern but have played just 16 games, fewer than anyone else, and will still be hoping to make the playoffs come the end of the regular season.

They will do well to pick up three points in Kansas City this weekend though as SKC have won their last four at home and look to be in great shape.

The hosts beat Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 away last time out and have not lost to Eastern Conference opposition all season.

Montreal come into the game in very average form, with two wins, two losses and a draw in their last five. They have only won once on the road this season and will be lucky to leave Sporting Park with a point.

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They did beat Columbus Crew 3-0 at home in their last outing and will hope to build on that performance here in the only regular season meeting between the two this year.

Team News

Ike Opara is a long-term absentee for Sporting Kansas City, while Seth Sinovic and Bernardo Anor are both doubts. Soni Mustivar, Graham Zusi and Marcel De Jong are away on international duty.

Montreal will be without Justin Mapp, Cameron Porter, Adrian Lopez and Kenny Cooper through injury, while Hassoun Camara is a doubt. Maxim Tissot is away on international duty and will not feature.

Key Points

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

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: Montreal have failed to win 24 of their last 25 away matches in MLS.

Key Player: Krisztian Nemeth – The attacker has a goal and an assist in his last two outings and will look to provide the difference again.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 3-1 Montreal Impact – Sporting Kansas City look like the strongest team in MLS at the moment and will be too strong for the Impact on Saturday. Montreal score plenty of goals and should get on the scoresheet but there looks to be only one winner here.

Should Benny Feilhaber be called up for the Gold Cup?

Sporting Kansas City‘s Benny Feilhaber has started the season in brilliant form and has given himself a great chance of getting a call-up for the upcoming Gold Cup.

The creative midfielder is at the heart of all things good for Kansas City and last night showed once again  how important he has been to their start to the season.

So how has Feilhaber performed in the key areas?

 

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Tackles Won Duels Won
Feilhaber 11 3 6 79% 48 57% 25

54%

He has contributed to nine goals in his 11 games which is exactly what any manager would be hoping for from their creative players. He has created 48 chances for SKC, which is better than four chances per game. Surprisingly he has won just 54% of his duels, winning 25 of his tackles.

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The 30 year old has made 41 appearances for the US Men’s National Team but hasn’t featured since February 2014. He has scored just two goals and was given his debut aged 22.

He has more goals than the rest of his midfield teammates combined. Dom Dwyer and Krisztian Nemeth have had chances galore as a result of Feilhaber’s service.

His form cannot be ignored and Jurgen Klinsmann will surely consider rewarding Feilhaber with a recall.

Should Feilhaber get a call-up and who should he replace?

Stats: Krisztian Nemeth rediscovering Liverpool form at SKC after fine start

Sporting Kansas City‘s Krisztian Nemeth put in an excellent performance in his side’s 4-2 win against New England Revolution on Wednesday night, and it’s not the first time in his career he’s made a real impact upon arrival.

Nemeth joined SKC as a free agent in December and has scored five goals in his first nine games in MLS.

The 26-year-old Hungarian forward has made seven starts through Sporting’s 11 games so far and is looking like an impressive acquisition early on in his short time in MLS.

He has endured a tough career, despite things looking so promising early on as he signed for Liverpool as an 18 year old back in the summer of 2007.

Nemeth scored twice on his Liverpool debut for the club’s reserve team and had five goals through his first three appearances for the Reds.

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He ended the 2007-08 campaign as the Premier Reserve League North’s top goalscorer, helping Liverpool to win the competition with a goal in the game that clinched the title as well.

He was unable to fulfil his potential with the Reds though and eventually left on a permanent deal to join Olympiacos in 2010, after loan spells with Blackpool and AEK Athens.

Injuries threatened his career over the last few years but his time with Sporting Kansas City has proven to be a success so far and he will hope that it continues.

Stats

Appearances Goals Assists Key Passes Shots Average minutes/game
Krisztian Nemeth (SKC 2015)  

9

 

5

 

1

 

3

 

23

70

Nemeth has already picked up five goals and one assist in MLS and is looking set for a big season so long as he can stay healthy.

He is beginning to form a solid partnership with English forward Dom Dwyer and the Hungarian picked up his first assist of the season when crossing to Dwyer for his sublime goal on Wednesday.

Sporting KC travel to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night for their second game of the week and Nemeth will hope to build on a sensational display against the Revs in that one.

How good has Krisztian Nemeth been so far this season? Was he unlucky not to have a successful career at Liverpool?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Sporting Kansas City

As the 2015 season is now just four days away, the excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what Sporting Kansas City will be looking to achieve this season…

Sporting Kansas City endured a long and tough season last time out as they limped into the MLS Playoffs only to be knocked out by the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference playoff game. They will take part in the Western Conference in 2015 as the arrivals of New York City FC and Orlando City SC has seen Sporting KC moved back to the West for the first time since 2004, a season in which they were runners-up for the MLS Cup title but won their first-ever US Open Cup. Manager Peter Vermes has seen many changes to his squad this season and will hope a change of opposition in the West can spark a comeback challenge for the championship in 2015.

Dom Dwyer was a real spark as he netted 22 goals in 31 regular season starts and if he can build on his form then Sporting KC will be a real force. The resigning of Roger Espinoza has strengthened the squad but the loss of centre-back Aurelien Collin could affect their defensive stability.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference – P34 – W14 – D7 – L13

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What needs to change this year?

Consistency was a problem in 2014. Sporting Kansas City had a great run of form through the middle of the season but ended the year by losing seven of their last ten. Fitness was a key factor as Matt Besler and Graham Zusi looked exhausted after the USMNT’s World Cup campaign and could not help the side to achieve. Sporting Park needs to become a fortress once more if the club are to do well in a fiercely competitive Western Conference this year as they had the seventh-worst home record last season. Picking up more points on the road than at home is a concern and something that must change from the word go.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Bernardo Anor – Midfielder, Jalil Anibaba – Defender, Krisztian Nemeth – Forward, Luis Marin – Goalkeeper, Roger Espinoza – Midfielder, Servando Carrasco – Midfielder.

Outs: Antonio Dovale – Midfielder, Lawrence Olum – Midfielder, Soony Saad – Forward, Aurelien Collin – Defender, CJ Sapong – Forward, Sal Zizzo – Midfield/Forward, Claudio Bieler – Forward, Jorge Claros – Midfielder, Eric Kronberg – Goalkeeper.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – Forward

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Dom Dwyer was incredible last year as he scored 24 goals across all competitions and led the line perfectly for Sporting Kansas City all season. He lacked support at times but the additions of Nemeth and Espinoza, as well as the return of a fully fit Zusi should only make Dwyer more dangerous. The English forward seems to improve with each game and is undoubtedly a favourite for the Golden Boot come the end of the campaign.

One to watch: Krisztian Nemeth – Forward

Krisztian Nemeth has joined the club this offseason and can play on the wing as well as the main striker. He has already netted five goals and picked up an assist this preseason and looks like he could be a real threat. His versatility will make him a real asset for Peter Vermes this season and the Hungarian is certainly someone to keep an eye on.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 6th

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Sporting Kansas City may take time to adjust to life back in the Western Conference, especially with the quality of teams around them this year. It looks set to be another tough campaign and a lot will depend on how well the team deal with such long trips. No other clubs are closer than a seven-hour drive and that could be a factor. Still, you can expect Sporting KC to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year and from there they could be dangerous. If Zusi and Besler can get back to their best then Sporting KC could be challenging right at the top of the Western but it may take time to adjust to a new conference with so many new players.

What are you expecting from Sporting Kansas City in 2015?

Sporting Kansas City bolster attack with addition of Krisztian Nemeth

Sporting Kansas City have continued to rebuild their squad ahead of the 2015 MLS season by adding Hungarian international forward Krisztian Nemeth.

The news comes one day after the club re-signed star striker Dom Dwyer to a long-term contract and Peter Vermes is delighted to have another attacking option in place for next season.

“Krisztian [Nemeth] is a player who has extensive experience playing in a 4-3-3 system,” Vermes said.

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“He also fits well in the overall model of play for Sporting Kansas City and we look forward to his adaptation.”

Nemeth is a vastly experienced player having played in Hungary, England, Greece and most recently the Netherlands, but at 25, he has a long career ahead of him.

He joined Liverpool as an 18-year-old in 2007 and although he never played a competitive first-team game with the Reds, he was a star in the Premier League Reserve League – ending his first year as top scorer in the division.

He trained with the likes of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Robbie Keane while at Anfield and he can’t wait to experience the new challenge of soccer in the US.

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“I am very excited to be joining Sporting Kansas City,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to join the club and MLS. Peter [Vermes] is a great coach and I look forward to working with him and the team.”

Nemeth has been without a club since leaving Eredivisie side Roda JC Kerkrade in July. He scored eight goals and recorded six assists in 24 games during the 2013-14 campaign and will hope to make a real impact with Sporting Kansas City in 2015.

Is Krisztian Nemeth a good signing for Sporting Kansas City?