The Crew will come into Kansas City playing their third game in a little over a week. They've split those two games, losing at home to Seattle before beating Houston on Wednesday this week. The big news for the Crew this week was the dismissal of head coach, Robert Warzycha. He was fired on Monday, replaced by the club's technical director, Brian Bliss. Bliss, Kansas City's former interim head coach after Bob Gansler in 2006. The other big news for the Crew will be the return of Federico Higuain. The Argentine designated player has missed the last two games due to a suspension but will be back in action tomorrow night when they play KC.
Kansas City will have to make lineup changes. As mentioned above, KC will be missing five players for tomorrow's game with Matt Besler, Mechack Jerome, Peterson Joseph, and Graham Zusi all on national team duty, and Dom Dwyer loaned back to Orlando City for the USL Pro finals. Combine that with KC selling Kamara to Middlesbrough on Monday and KC is fairly undermanned heading into this game. Benny Feilhaber has started to finally play like the player that KC fans were hoping for when they brought in the former US international. With Zusi away with the US team, Feilhaber will be relied on more to be a creative influence for Sporting tomorrow. The forward line should be able to survive the absences, although Kamara's will be the toughest to overcome.
Myers - Collin - Opara - Sinovic
Rosell - Nagamura
Sapong - Bieler - Saad
Number to Remember - 5 - The number of points between first place in the Eastern Conference from 6th place in the conference. Three teams are tied on 42 points, one team on 39, and two more on 37, the conference is tight.
Key Match Up - Paulo Nagamura vs Federico Higuain - If Higuain is pulling the strings in the midfield, it's going to be mainly on Nagamura to shut down the designated player. He'll try to sit between KC's midfield and defense to play through Columbus' forwards.
PREDICTION - As I said last week, KC needs to get maximum points from their home games. The Crew are currently outside the playoffs looking in, but with a new coach they'll be looking to ride that bump with the return of Higuain tomorrow in KC. Sporting will need to survive the numerous absences, and hope that Claudio Bieler can find form again. Since the return of Kamara, Bieler's form has dipped, hopefully he can pick up the form again, KC will need it.
SKC - 2 (Bieler, Saad)
CLB - 1 (Higuain)