On Wednesday night, the New England Revolution will host Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium. These two teams are meeting on opposite ends of the momentum spectrum. New England is on a two-game winning streak and three-game unbeaten run after losing nine of ten of their previous games. Sporting, on the other hand, has lost two straight by a total of six goals to one and finished August with just one win.
Earlier this season, the Revolution hosted SKC for a 2-0 win. Former Sporting striker, Teal Bunbury buried the heartbreaking winner in stoppage time and Lee Nguyen added an insurance goal just moments later. The win appeared to solidify New England as a contender for the Eastern Conference title, but ended up being only a highlight before a monumental collapse. Sporting did finish the April match-up with 10 men after defender Aurelien Collin was sent-off late in the game.
Both teams will be missing players for this due to suspension and injury. Both Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer will be serving yellow-card accumulation suspensions along with Scott Caldwell of the Revolution. New England will also be missing Andy Dorman with an injury. SKC is has all their active players healthy again but are still missing Ike Opara, Chance Myers, and Peterson Joseph who are all out of the remainder of the season. Erik Palmer-Brown, who has seen little time at CB after the return of Matt Besler, will be away on national team duty with the United States Under-20s.
Jermaine Jones will be appearing for the second time in a Revolution jersey after getting 25 minutes off the bench against Toronto FC. It is unclear if he will start, but his insertion into the lineup would easily benefit New England this week.
This match-up may prove problematic for the defending Major League Soccer Champs. Their backline has been suspect of late and New England has a talented core of strikers that could easily play over the top. The speed of Bunbury is always a threat and the Revolution would be wise to exploit the high line. Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen could both easily pass through this defense if KC's form doesn't improve.
Sporting's offense has been lacking in the absence of Dom Dwyer this season. When you compound that with the absence of Benny Feilhaber, you have a recipe for disaster. Graham Zusi will need to step up and be the creative spark the team needs. The center forward position is a huge question mark for the team as well. Peter Vermes has hinted that Claudio Bieler may get his first start since May, but fellow striker CJ Sapong has done well recently when called upon. The battle for the backup striker role is wide open, but no matter who starts, they will need to find a way to finish if Kansas City hopes to win this game.
Referee for the match is Ismail Elfath.
The prediction for this match is 3-1 New England. The attacking core the Revs put out will beat KC over the top as Sporting push numbers forward trying to find some offense.