Philadelphia have played 5 games in league play and one Open Cup game since John Hackworth took over for Peter Nowak, they are 4-2 in that stretch, including a 4-0 win over Sporting KC. Since Hackworth took over for Peter Nowak, the offense has come alive as they've scored more goals in league play in 5 games than they had in the previous 12 under Nowak. Freddy Adu has become extremely important to their offense in this stretch as well.
Sporting KC has been the opposite way offensively lately, as KC has scored just 3 goals in the last 4 league games. All 3 of those came in one game, in the other three games, KC has been shut out. The defense looked much improved against Houston after a poor performance against Montreal, and with Matt Besler starting to return to form along with Aurelien Collin and Sporting are getting back to the defensive form that helped them to a 7-0 start. The question is whether the offense can come back alive. Jacob Peterson has found a good vein of form, and pushed Teal Bunbury back to the bench. While KC has a league game this weekend in Columbus, but with KC only 90 minutes from a cup final, sacrificing the game in Columbus isn't even a question at this point. You start the starters tomorrow night in Philadelphia, and if need be start reserves in Columbus.
Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Espinoza - Cesar
Kamara - Sapong - Peterson
Number to Remember - 180 - Minutes from a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League.
Key Match Up - Roger Espinoza vs Freddy Adu - In one of Espinoza's last performances before heading to London to join the Honduran national team Espinoza will likely have the task of keeping Adu in check. With his better performance lately for Philadelphia, Espinoza is likely going to have his hands full dealing with the former teenage phenom.
PREDICTION - "The Terror" has returned in full force ahead of this game for me. Part of me just doesn't even want to watch out of fear of the disappointment. This game is just as big as last year's Eastern Conference final, because while that game guaranteed a trip to the CCL, this game guarantees a final at Livestrong Sporting Park. Philadelphia has been playing extremely well while KC really hasn't. Plenty of things are just going against them at this point. I want to be confident in this one, but I just can't.
SKC - 0
PHI - 1 (McInerney)