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Massive Predictions: Crew SC at Sporting Kansas City

Can the Black & Gold get a road victory in front of national eyes?

MLS: Sporting KC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t happen very often, but on Sunday evening, Columbus Crew SC will play a Major League Soccer game on national television. The Black & Gold travel to Children’s Mercy Park to take on Sporting Kansas City in a game that will be shown on Fox Sports 1.

Crew SC enter this match unbeaten in six games after last week’s 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on the road. Columbus currently sits on 24 points and is in second place in the Eastern Conference.

SKC also sits on 24 points, good enough for first place in the Western Conference. Kansas City hasn’t lost in three matches and is 4-1-1 at home.

Can Crew SC surprise again with another road victory on Sunday night? Let’s see what our staff thinks of this match.

Eliot McKinley

This game presents the toughest challenge for Crew SC so far this season. Sporting Kansas City’s potent attack will run up against Columbus’ league-leading defense in what is sure to be an entertaining match. A key for Crew SC may be shutting down Kansas City’s right back, Graham Zusi, who leads the team in touch percentage and is unusually influential in the final third for a defender. I don’t see either team outright dominating the game, but Kansas City will do enough to win at home.
Sporting Kansas City 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Sam Fahmi

Columbus Crew SC go to Kansas City riding a six-game unbeaten streak. Will that continue? Maybe. Currently, Sporting KC leads the West by four points over Los Angeles Football Club and has a plus-11 goal differential. With one loss in six home games, Kansas City can be a tough place to play. However, this is a Crew SC team that has presented something different with its defense this year. Streaks are meant to be broken, but I feel this one, whole tough, will continue. Crew SC leave Kansas City with a point.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Sporting Kansas City 2

Guilherme Torres

Crew SC and Sporting Kansas are both hot teams in MLS right now as the Black & Gold are undefeated in six matches, having won the last three, while SKC didn’t lose any of its last three games. Playing in Kansas City has not been good for the Crew, as the team lost its last four matches on the road against SKC with the last triumph dating back to 2012.

These are two efficient teams and, as so, I expect a match of few mistakes from both sides and, eventually, a low-scoring game. My belief if that Crew SC will extend its unbeaten streak and return home with a very important point thanks to another very good defensive performance.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Sporting Kansas City 1

Collin Johnson

The toughest stretch in Crew SC’s season continues as the Black & Gold travel to Kansas City to play a (nationally televised!) game against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Columbus made some small changes to their tactics at New England, to counter the high press, seeing many more long balls from the back. It’s unclear whether that will continue against KC, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to playing out of the back with Mike Grella slotting into one of the starting wing positions.

It’s tough to pick against a team playing as well as Crew SC is right now but Sporting KC might be the best team in the league. They are near the tops in goals for and against, and employ a consistent system much like Columbus, albeit slightly more defensive. I’m looking forward to an exciting battle between two of MLS’s most innovative, midwestern teams on Sunday and I think the Black & Gold will be prepared to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Sporting KC 1

Josh Mlot

We are about to find out a whole lot about the Black & Gold. Columbus kicks off a brutal stretch of the schedule with a road game at Sporting Kansas City, which currently sits atop the Western Conference. SKC has only lost once in its last 11 games and has only dropped points at home twice this season. Sporting’s defense has stabilized after a shaky start to the season, and Daniels Salloi and Johnny Russell seem to have invigorated the attack, even without a reliable No. 9. The team has let off on the gas pedal on the high press a little, at least compared to what we’ve come to expect from Peter Vermes, and have upped the possession and passing.

That should make for an interesting battle with a Columbus side that always wants the ball. Can Crew SC be successful being more conservative and pragmatic in KC? The last couple of times out on the road, CCSC has shown it can be conservative and get road results, but this is a new level of challenge. I think Columbus will hold its own, but that might not mean points.
Sporting Kansas City 1 Columbus Crew SC 0

Ralph Schudel

Whether you enjoy a good “chalk talk” session, or just watching good soccer this game has everything you need. Peter Vermes vs. Gregg Berhalter, both coaches have their teams achieving at high levels this season and Sunday night presents a possible MLS Cup preview. The high press of SKC presents challenges for Crew SC, but the Black & Gold showed it can handle a press by making a few simple tweaks.

I expect Berhalter and Vermes to engage in a chess match all night, as each looks to gain a competitive advantage. I think Vermes and Sporting Kansas City have the edge, Johnny Russell is a key cog in the offense, and young Khiry Shelton is benefiting from a change of scenery since his trade from New York City this past winter. I give the advantage to SKC, albeit not by much.
Sporting Kansas City 1 Columbus Crew SC 0

Patrick Guldan

Columbus and Kansas City are similar teams in several respects. They are teams built off of very good defenses and offenses able to score enough to earn results. In a way Crew SC has turned into a gritty Peter Vermes team in 2018. This will probably be Crew SC’s toughest task of the year. Sporting Kansas City’s offense is finally creating chances while the defense is as good as ever. Still missing Pedro Santos, the Black & Gold will have to rely on that strong defense to come away from Kansas with any points. I don’t see how Columbus is able to create enough to grab all three points. The defense, possibly missing stalwart Jonathan Mensah, will have to be near flawless to give Crew SC the chance at a result. It’s likely too tall of a task for both the offense and defense. Columbus suffers their first loss since mid-April.
Sporting Kansas City 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Patrick Murphy

I’m really looking forward to this match. I think this is the toughest test for Crew SC in 2018 and we will learn a little more about this team. Of course, it would be better if the Black & Gold entered this match at full strength, but we know winger Pedro Santos will be out and it’s likely Jonathan Mensah misses as well.

I still think Columbus goes to Kansas City and battles, but I think the defense will miss Jonathan — assuming he doesn’t play — and allow a goal for the first time in four games. It will still be a fun match, but I think Crew SC fall in this one.
Sporting Kansas City 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

What’s your prediction for tonight’s match with SKC?