If Columbus was higher in the table, I'd say they were flying under the radar. You've heard very little about them in the league season so far. But they aren't really that high in the table. Currently they sit in 7th in the East with 22 points, 3 points out of the fifth and final playoff spot. The other reason why we really haven't heard a lot lately is that they've only played 4 games since June 16th. In the same time frame, Kansas City has played double the amount of competitive games, 6 league and 2 Open Cup. Columbus will be a bit more rested than Sporting is without those games, but Kansas City is getting healthier, while the Crew are continuing to struggle with some injury issues.
To help to avoid the potential let down, Vermes could look to switch up his side a little bit in a similar manner that he did in Seattle earlier this year. Maybe Vermes gives a break to players like Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi, Paulo Nagamura, and one of Chance Myers or Seth Sinovic in place of guys like Soony Saad, Peterson Joseph, Julio Cesar, and Michael Harrington. With the win on Wednesday, KC play two games a week all the way through the 11th of August, a brutal stretch for Sporting KC. KC will need to use some of it's depth a bit and making those changes after the big game on Wednesday would seem to make a lot of sense.
Myers - Collin - Besler - Harrington
Cesar - Espinoza
Saad - Bunbury - Peterson
Number to Remember - 8 of 10 - Sporting KC have not scored in 8 of the last 10 halves in MLS play. They've scored 4 goals in those two halves, but KC's scoring woes as a whole as they struggle to consistently find the net.
Key Match Up - Roger Espinoza vs Eddie Gaven - Gaven continues to be one of the Crew's most consistent players and is their leading scorer as well. Keeping him in check is going to be a key to KC's success.
PREDICTION - I don't expect or need a lot from this game, the win on Wednesday has put us in the final and I was willing to give up a game to get to that point. This game would be one I'd be ok with. This is a game that would be perfect for KC to take a bit of a slower approach to and to conserve their legs a bit. Columbus' offense hasn't set the world on fire, which could work in KC's favor as well.
SKC - 1 (Saad)
CLB - 1 (Meram)