What We Know and What We Don't: Sporting Kansas City

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In which we examine tonight's match between two teams desperate for a win.

When last the New York Red Bulls played Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls put on a counter attacking clinic, beating SKC 3-2 in Sporting Park and boosting them ever closer to their first Supporter's Shield in club history.   Tonight's meeting, however, will be a very different scenario.

Here's what we know:

  • Both teams need a win.

New York and SKC are both winless in their last three matches, however New York is a little worse the wear as they go into tonight on a three game losing streak.

  • Kansas City's defense is hurting.

SKC has built a reputation on having one of the sturdiest back lines in MLS.  With Matt Besler out for World Cup duty, Chance Myers out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, and Aurelien Collin questionable,  they seem a lot less intimidating.   Hopefully New York's sputtering attack will have an easier time getting their luck turned around.

  • Both teams are tired.

The Red Bulls and SKC are both heading into tonight's match on a short turnaround from games played over the weekend.   Sporting has had an extra day's rest, but they'll still be playing tired after their disappointing 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Friday night.   New York, on the other hand, has to be feeling tired and defeated after suffering a ridiculous loss at the hands of Portland in Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

Here's what we don't know:

  • Which goal scorer will come out on top?

New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kansas City's Dom Dwyer are currently tied for the golden boot with ten goals a piece.  With neither team's defenses performing all that well, it's highly likely that one of those two will find the back of the net at some point tonight.   Who will take advantage of this opportunity to gain the lead in the goal scoring race?

  • How will Luyindula be used?

Peguy Luyindula has been sorely missed in New York's midfield over the last three weeks.   In his absence (calf injury), Mike Petke decided to slot Eric Alexander into the middle creative role to poor results.  Now healthy, Peguy will be able to reinsert himself onto the pitch, and not a moment too soon.  Still, the former PSG man has said that his calf isn't exactly 100%, so there's no telling how much of an impact he'll be able to make.  Will he start, or will Petke play it cautious and use him as a late game sub?

  • Speaking of subs....

Will Petke use his subs to greater effect?   The New York boss' substitution tactics last Saturday were head scratching at best.   Hopefully he'll learn from some obvious mistakes and make any necessary changes tonight before it's way too late.

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