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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Sporting Kansas City

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Here are three keys to FCD knocking off KC this weekend.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sporting KC at Minnesota United Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas head to Kansas City after drawing Houston before the international break. SKC are off of a 0-0 draw with the Galaxy. Both teams were in action on Wednesday night in the US Open Cup, where they both won in extra time (penalties in FCD’s case).

Terrible Form

Sporting Kansas City roll into this game with arguably the worst form in the league. SKC has one win in its last eleven matches, one of those defeats coming from FC Dallas back in April. Kansas were shut out in six of those eleven matches. SKC will be desperate to get back on track as they fight for a playoff spot in the bottom half of the Western Conference.

Potential Lineup

Nuno Andre Coelho and Brad Davis are coming off injury and questionable for SKC in this match.

GK: Tim Melia; LB: Jimmy Medranda; CB: Ike Opara, Lawrence Olum; RB: Saad Abdul-Salaam; CM: Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; RW: Jacob Peterson; LW: Connor Hallisey; FW: Dom Dwyer.

Key Matchup

Victor Ulloa vs. Benny Feilhaber. Despite their lax play in the last few months, Benny Feilhaber is a serious threat in midfield. If given the time and space, he can break apart defenses and sometimes he does it without either. Ulloa will have to be up to the task of slowing down Feilhaber. If Ulloa stifles Feilhaber and the Dallas defense shuts down his outlets, Dallas will be better off defensively.

Keys to Three Points

Patchwork Defense. The loss of Matt Besler will be felt in SKC’s defense, which has not been solid this season. Someone will have to fill in for him at Center-back. Saad Abdul-Salaam and Jimmy Medranda have been having an adjustment year at those fullback positions. Kansas City face a difficult challenge, a weak defense up against FC Dallas great offense.

How Does the Break Affect Dallas? Dallas had a bit of a drop in form before the break, with two straight draws, but the Hoops will be looking to pass Colorado and make a serious challenge for the Supporters Shield. Lots of injuries are nearly healed, and tired players have gotten the rest they needed. Hopefully Dallas will come out looking refreshed and ready to push for silverware.

Winger vs. Fullback. FC Dallas has two of the best wingers in the league in Castillo and Barrios, meanwhile SKC has two young fullbacks who have not had an easy season. That battle on the wings is going to be crucial to this match. Can Castillo and Barrios take advantage of a weakness and produce on offense, or will the young fullbacks rise to the challenge?

Prediction

SKC seems to be there for the taking, even though they are at home. Barrios and Akindele get on the scoreboard, SKC pulls one back.

My Prediction: FC Dallas 2-1.