Tomorrow night is Sporting KC's final group game in the CCL. A loss and Sporting KC will be sitting at home when the knock out phase begins next year. Sporting need a result against Honduran champions, Olimpia.
In the last group match day, Olimpia needed a 66th minute strike from Anthony Lozano to get them a 1-0 win at home against Real Esteli. Like the game in KC, Esteli put up a good fight and at times looked hard done to lose the game. In league play, Olimpia is tied for the top spot with seven wins, two draws, and four losses. So unlike KC's first match up against the Leones, Olimpia should be more in form now that their league season has really gotten going. Since the win over Esteli though, Olimpia has lost three of their last five, only winning one. The one win came on the road.
The worry for Sporting is the splitting of their focus right now. They have this game against Olimpia tomorrow but then on the weekend have a game in Philadelphia that they need to win to at least stay in the race for the Supporters' Shield. With split focus I'm sure there will be some squad rotation for this game, but I also expect a number of first team players to take the field for KC as well. The team has not hidden the fact that getting a result tomorrow and advancing is a priority. They'll push the game and try to catch Olimpia early on travel legs. An early strike that forces Olimpia to come out and play could open the game up a lot.
Number to Remember - 1 - The number of points KC needs to advance. While the will probably want three points to avoid potential match ups with Toluca and Cruz Azul.
Key Match Up - KC center backs vs Anthony Lozano - Lozano is in Honduras' national team pool and certainly a threat for Olimpia going forward. He scored the winner against Esteli and will likely be relied on to help Olimpia tomorrow.
PREDICTION - A "chalk" draw the rest of the way, where the favorites all win, would see KC likely finish in 5th place and face a match up with Tijuana if they win. A draw and they're likely to face one of the other two Mexican sides that look likely to advance in Cruz Azul and Toluca. But that requires getting some sort of result tomorrow. Olimpia's recent form has to give some confidence to KC as well, but the lack of knowledge still about the team still certainly causes questions. KC though should be able to get some kind of result tomorrow.
SKC - 3 (Saad, Bieler, Sapong)
OLI - 1 (Rojas)