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Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Cincinnati Pick & Prediction OCT 28TH 2020

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A game in which a first-place club visits a last-place club carries an unexpected amount of possible storylines as Sporting Kansas City faces FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

Sporting Kansas City (10-6-3, 33 points) leads the Western Conference, a point ahead of second-place Seattle and Portland (pending Seattle's match against Vancouver on Tuesday). SKC are rounding into form with a 4-1-1 record in their past six matches.

With a win or a tie, Sporting would clinch a spot in the MLS playoffs.

FC Cincinnati (4-12-4, 16 points) is bringing up the rear of the Eastern Conference table, having gone 1-6-1 in their past eight matches.

While it may appear to be a breather for Sporting K.C., manager Peter Vermes isn't looking at it like that.

"If you look at all their games at home, they're really low-scoring games," said Vermes, who became the first MLS head coach to record 10 regular-season wins in 11 consecutive years with the victory over Colorado. "They're difficult to play on their field there for a lot of reasons.

"They do a really good job of fighting for things, of scraping and scrapping for stuff. I don't think there's anybody in our group who thinks this is an easy game."

Cincinnati has the worst goal differential in MLS (minus-20), but a strong effort against Minnesota United in its latest match may be a sign of improvement, albeit with the reminder of why the club occupies the cellar.

Cincinnati had 59 percent of possession in the first half, with eight shots, but only one on target, in a 1-0 home loss on Saturday.

"It's frustrating because you go inside this game to win, because every game you go to win," midfielder Haris Medunjanin said. "I think we started very well, with a couple of 100 percent chances that should normally go in. But you don't score and you let them stay alive."

Beating a first-place club would go a long way to releasing some of that frustration.

--Field Level Media

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Sporting Kansas City

FC Cincinnati

Player Position Lineup
Tim Melia Starter
Amadou Dia Starter
Andreu Fontas Starter
Roberto Puncec Starter
Jaylin Lindsey Starter
Johnny Russell Starter
Felipe Hernandez Starter
Ilie Sanchez Starter
Gadi Kinda Starter
Khiry Shelton Starter
Alan Pulido Starter
Gerso Fernandes Substitution
Daniel Salloi Substitution
Erik Hurtado Substitution
Cameron Duke Substitution
John Pulskamp Substitution
Roger Espinoza Substitution
Graham Smith Substitution
Luís Martins Substitution
Matt Besler Substitution
Player Position Lineup
Frankie Amaya Starter
Kamohelo Mokotjo Starter
Joseph-Claude Gyau Starter
Andrew Gutman Starter
Siem de Jong Starter
Jürgen Locadia Starter
Haris Medunjanin Starter
Tom Pettersson Starter
Nick Hagglund Starter
Zico Bailey Starter
Spencer Richey Starter
Saad Abdul-Salaam Substitution
Mathieu Deplagne Substitution
Bobby Edwards Substitution
Franko Kovacevic Substitution
Jimmy McLaughlin Substitution
Thomas McCabe Substitution
Kendall Waston Substitution
Rashawn Dally Substitution
Brandon Vazquez Substitution
Yuya Kubo Substitution

Sporting Kansas City

FC Cincinnati

  • Match Start
  • Period 2
  • MIN 46
    IN: Gerso Fernandes
    OUT: Khiry Shelton
    substitution
  • MIN 46
    IN: Roger Espinoza
    OUT: Felipe Hernandez
    substitution
  • MIN 57
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Roger Espinoza
  • MIN 60
    Roberto Puncec
    card
  • MIN 77
    IN: Yuya Kubo
    OUT: Jürgen Locadia
    substitution
  • MIN 78
    IN: Saad Abdul-Salaam
    OUT: Zico Bailey
    substitution
  • MIN 80
    IN: Brandon Vazquez
    OUT: Kamohelo Mokotjo
    substitution
  • MIN 81
    IN: Cameron Duke
    OUT: Gadi Kinda
    substitution
  • MIN 90
    IN: Jimmy McLaughlin
    OUT: Tom Pettersson
    substitution
  • MIN 90
    IN: Erik Hurtado
    OUT: Alan Pulido
    substitution
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 75% L 25%
6 2
  • Minnesota United FC L 3 - 0
  • San Jose Earthquakes D 3 - 3
  • @Real Salt Lake W 2 - 0
  • @FC Cincinnati W 1 - 0
  • Colorado Rapids W 0 - 4
  • @Chicago Fire D 2 - 2
  • @FC Dallas L 0 - 1
  • Nashville SC W 1 - 2
  • Chicago Fire W 0 - 1
  • @Houston Dynamo W 2 - 1
W 10% L 90%
1 9
  • @Inter Miami CF L 1 - 2
  • @Atlanta United FC L 0 - 2
  • Sporting Kansas City L 1 - 0
  • Minnesota United FC L 1 - 0
  • D.C. United L 2 - 1
  • Columbus Crew SC W 1 - 2
  • Toronto FC L 1 - 0
  • @Philadelphia Union L 0 - 3
  • @Minnesota United FC L 0 - 2
  • @New York City FC L 0 - 4

Last Meetings

  • Sporting Kansas City @ FC Cincinnati 1-0
  • Sporting Kansas City @ FC Cincinnati 1-1

Last Injuries

FC Cincinnati

  • Alvas Powell

    International Duty
    Out | out

Sporting Kansas City

  • Matt Besler

    Undisclosed
    Out | out

  • Gadi Kinda

    Undisclosed
    Out | out

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Cincinnati

Roger Espinoza scored his second goal of the season to help Sporting Kansas City clinch a playoff spot with a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati in the final MLS match at Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.

SKC are back in the postseason a year after their eight-year streak of playoff appearances end. Sporting K.C. (11-6-3, 36 points) moved back atop the Western Conference standings, a point above the Seattle Sounders.

Espinoza received a perfect pass from a charging Alan Pulido in front of the goal in the 57th minute, then fired a left-footed shot from close range past Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey.

Two minutes later, Sporting's Roberto Puncec received a yellow card for a foul inside the box, and Cincinnati was awarded a penalty kick. However, Siem de Jong hit the post on his PK attempt and goalie Tim Melia deflected the follow-up shot to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Although Melia did not receive credit for a penalty-kick save, he has 11 PK saves since the start of 2016, six more than any other MLS keeper in that period.

Sporting K.C. were far more aggressive in the second half after showing little energy in the first half. They had 12 of their 13 shots in the second half, including all four of their shots on target.

The first goal is critical for FC Cincinnati (4-13-4, 16 points), which is 4-0-0 when scoring first this season and 0-13-0 when allowing the first goal. The team has played four scoreless draws.

FC Cincinnati has never come from behind to win a match in nearly two full seasons in MLS. They are 0-30-1 all-time when trailing at any point in a match.

Neither team could mount much offense in the first half. Cincinnati held a significant advantage in possession (65 percent). FC Cincinnati had seven shots prior to halftime, with Jurgen Locadia having the only attempt on goal.

When Melia made a point-blank save at the 45-minute mark on Locadia's shot, he passed Tony Meola for the most career saves (508) in franchise history.

--Field Level Media