Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact
2017 MLS Regular Season
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kan.
Saturday, June 10 – 8 pm ET
WATCH: TVAS, MLS LIVE in the US
The Western Conference leaders have been dominant at home, have forward Dom Dwyer back from injury and are facing a middling Impact side minus a half-dozen international call-ups.
Such circumstances would leave most neutral observers expecting an easy SKC win, a dangerous proposition if those expectations get in players' heads.
Then again, Sporting had a dress rehearsal of sorts for just such a situation last Saturday. They handled it patiently, but comfortably in a 3-0 victory over Minnesota United FC that featured goals from defenders Ike Opara and Saad Abdul-Salaam.
Sporting Kansas City
After missing two games with a knee injury, Dwyer came on for the final 29 minutes of Sporting's win on Saturday. And with a relatively short absence from the starting XI, it's reasonable to think he could be ready to test his 90-minute fitness again. After being named to US coach Bruce Arena's preliminary Gold Cup roster, Dwyer could use a good run of games to earn a trip to the tournament. He may there if he regains the form that saw him score five goals in five matches from April 9 to May 3.
Coach Peter Vermes' squad currently boasts a formidable 6-0-1 mark at home, where Sporting have outscored opponents 16-2 and preserved five consecutive shutouts. That streak will be put to the test with Matt Besler returning to US national team camp after being released to participate in Sporting's Saturday game. With defender Erik Palmer-Brown likely missing out through injury, Kevin Ellis (who was upgraded to questionable this week) will likely partner Ike Opara in the middle of defense, with new signing Amer Didic a possibility to partner Opara if Ellis can't go.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l duty: Roger Espinoza (Honduras), Tyler Pasher (Canada), Graham Zusi (US), Matt Besler (US)
- Injury report: OUT – D Erik Palmer-Brown (thigh injury), QUESTIONABLE – D Kevin Ellis (quad strain), F Diego Rubio (torn ACL), F Latif Blessing (hip injury), M Roger Espinoza (lower back injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Tim Melia – Saad Abdul-Salaam, Ike Opara, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic – Benny Feilhaber, Ilie Sanchez, Jimmy Medranda – Soony Saad, Dominic Dwyer, Gerso Fernandes
NOTES: Sporting are 13-0-3 in their last 16 home games dating back to June 19th of 2016. They have only conceded 10 goals on that run. Their 0.63 goals against average on that run is only bettered by Colorado’s 0.59 since June 19th.
Montreal will lose a league-high seven players to international call-ups in the current June window, with Blerim Dzemaili, Laurent Ciman and Ambroise Oyongo all facing intercontinental travel. (Oyongo could be gone with Cameroon through the Confederations Cup, which runs until July 2). And the timing is far from ideal, as the Impact have to play through the weekend and are in need of points as they begin the weekend second from bottom in the Eastern Conference.
Add to that, midfielders Hernan Bernardello and Ballou Tabla have joined the ranks of the Impact's injured, and it will take quite an effort from coach Mauro Biello to field a competitive starting XI.
But in addition to their 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls last Saturday, Montreal should also feel heartened by their recent performances in the two legs of the Canadian championship, where they used a mix of regulars and depth players to advance beyond the Vancouver Whitecaps. And if nothing else, talismanic Argentinean Ignacio Piatti is healthy and available, giving the Impact at least a puncher's chance away from home.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l duty: Patrice Bernier (Canada), Laurent Ciman (Belgium), Maxime Crepeau (Canada), Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Canada), Wandrille Lefevre (Canada), Ambroise Oyongo (Cameroon)
- Injury report: OUT – F Matteo Mancosu (thigh 4/29, out 6-8 weeks REPORT); M Andres Romero (hamstring), M Hernan Bernardello (undisclosed injury), M Ballou Tabla (undisclosed injury), M Louis Beland-Goyette (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Eric Kronberg – Daniel Lovitz, Hassoun Camara, Kyle Fisher, Chris Duvall – Calum Mallace, Marco Donadel, Adrian Arregui – David Choiniere, Dominic Oduro, Ignacio Piatti
NOTES: Chris Duvall was credited with nine tackles last week against the Red Bulls. This is just the fourth time this season a player has had nine or more tackles in a match. There has been just five instances in Montreal MLS history that a player has had nine or more tackles (10 twice, Karl Ouimette in 2014 and Patrice Bernier in 2013).
This is the 12th overall meeting between the clubs who were once Eastern Conference rivals, and the sixth to be played in Kansas City
- Overall: Sporting KC 6 wins (19 goals), Montreal 3 wins (10 goals), 2 draws
- At Kansas City: Sporting KC 3 wins (9 goals), Montreal 2 wins (5 goals), 0 draws
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik, Kyle Longville
Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi