SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. CENTRAL FC
CHILDREN'S MERCY PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
Oct. 19, 2016 (CONCACAF Champions League)
8 pm ET (facebook.com)
The only points at stake in the Group C finale are moot points.
Sporting Kansas City and Trinidadian side Central FC have already been eliminated from the knockout stages of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League, after the Vancouver Whitecaps cruised to a 4-0-0 record. Sporting and Central are on one point each going into Wednesday night's matchup.
Sporting have bigger concerns, anyway. They're still holding onto the sixth and final Western Conference spot in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs going into Sunday's regular-season finale -- but only on goal differential over the Portland Timbers, the defending MLS Cup champions.
Each team does get something out of Wednesday's match, though. Sporting will get to give lesser-used players some minutes, while Central FC can still test themselves against MLS-caliber opposition.
Sporting and Central drew 2-2 on Aug. 16 at Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, accounting for each club's lone point in the group stage. Sporting went up 1-0 on a ball deflected in by left back Seth Sinovic (pictured above), but Central responded with two quick goals from Marcus Joseph and from Jones before Kevin Ellis delivered the 70th-minute equalizer.
Jones made his debut for Central in that match, after sitting out the club's CCL opener while his transfer was being completed.
Rescue from the Rangers?
In past matches this year, Sporting have filled out their injury-depleted roster with players from their USL side, Swope Park Rangers, and that will be the case once again on Wednesday.
Though Rangers have a USL Cup final to play on Sunday at New York Red Bulls II, Sporting called up four SPR players, including ex-Canadian youth international Tyler Pasher. Sporting also recalled first-team players Ever Alvarado and Emmanuel Appiah from their loans at SPR for Wedneday's game.
Sporting will be without striker Diego Rubio, who tore the ACL in his right knee in training last week and is out for the rest of the season. Rubio is the first player in club history to score in MLS, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and CCL play in the same season.
Off to a hot start
While Sporting are trying to finish strong and book a sixth straight playoff appearance, Central are off to a 3-0-0 start in TT Pro League play and sit alone atop the table.
Midfielder Darren Mitchell leads the league with four goals scored.
One recognizable face who will not be with Central on this trip is Kenwyne Jones, the on-loan T&T international who will play in MLS with Atlanta United starting in 2017. He suffered a small tear in one of his knee ligaments while on international duty with the Soca Warriors last week and is set to miss out on this game, though he still plans on being with his national team when they kick off the CONCACAF Hexagonal on Nov. 11.