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Preview: Columbus Crew v. Sporting Kansas City

After Houston and Chicago's wins last night, the Crew need a win of their own against Kansas City tonight to keep pace.

The offense runs through Zusi
The offense runs through Zusi
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Lineup: Unchanged. Nearly a full week of rest and a generally healthy squad means the team that's won three straight will get another game together.

Lampson; Barson, Wahl, Marshall, Viana; Oduro, Trapp, Tchani, Anor; Arrieta, Higuain

Crew on Offense: Speed burned Dallas last week, but Sporting Kansas City won't let that happen. They are adept at playing at a high pace and cutting down players on the counterattack.

The counter will be vital as the Crew will likely struggle with any crosses into the box. Aurelian Collin and Matt Besler clean up on headers. When the Crew attack from width, they'll likely l'ok to overload and drive to the goal. It will be a tall task.

This means that Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani will again by key. If the Crew can't get their breakaway chances, the central midfield pair will have to work to move the ball around and unsettle a well drilled defense.

Crew on Defense: On paper, Sporting looks like it should have a better offense than it does. Claudio Bieler has 10 goals, but has cooled off after a hot start and Kai Kamara is second on the team with seven goals, but is long gone.

The offense still starts around the playmaking of Graham Zusi backed up by the outstanding Oriol Rosell and Benny Feilhaber. The Crew dodge Rosell who is suspended, but Zusi and Feilhaber will be available to create.

The visitors likely will turn to some youngsters to add punch to the team. Dom Dwyer lit up USL-Pro with Orlando, but has found MLS more challenging. Soony Saad however has finally gotten the hang of playing in MLS and has four goals so far this year. He's not a consistent threat yet, but his next game could be his breakout.

Final Walkthrough: Sporting matches up well with a Crew team that has easily been cowed in the past. Columbus doesn't have to match the physicality, but at least must weather it.

Crew 1 - SKC 1