KANSAS CITY, KS - Sporting Kansas City midfielder Erik Thommy (26) during the first half in the match between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at Children's Mercy Park (Parker Johnson/IONYOU Media)

Sporting KC Faces Defensive Woes Ahead of Columbus Clash

KANSAS CITY – Sporting KC showed some life in their midweek matchup against “top of the table” Real Salt Lake. SKC recorded 27 shots and managed to score three goals. Willy Agada stood in for injured Alan Pulido and put in a great shift with two goals and managed to get “Team of the Matchday” honors for Matchday 21. Unfortunately, all the attacking power meant major struggles defensively. Sporting KC conceded four goals and washed away all of their efforts upfront in a 4-3 loss on Wednesday evening. 

SKC’s best chance to win on Saturday will be to clean up their mistakes in the back. So far, that has been the dealbreaker the whole season. Sporting has managed to allow 40 goals thus far in 2024. This is the second worst in the MLS, right after San Jose with 45. Thankfully, Columbus has only scored 25 goals so far. Tim Melia has done virtually all he can, but the defensive miscues have been detrimental to Sporting’s play. 

Boone Cumberland/IONYOU Media

Columbus will be without Jacen Russell-Rowe on international duty for the Canadian National Team. Columbus is nearly full strength minus Russell-Rowe and 2nd string GK, Evan Bush. This is great for the reigning champs, who are in decent form, sitting in 6th place in the Eastern Conference. However, they did not look great earlier this week. Columbus lost to Inter Miami on Wednesday 2-1, it should be noted Miami was without many of their stars such as Messi and Suarez due to international duty. This could turn this upcoming weekend matchup into a very exciting game as both teams are coming off very intense midweek games. 

Columbus is not a fun place to play away. Their new stadium, Lower.com Field, is not only one of the top stadiums in the MLS but also one of the top atmospheres. SKC will need to go in with a villain mindset and try to do to Columbus what has been happening to them all season; ruin another team’s home game. 

SKC will still be without Daniel Salloi and Remi Walter. Walter’s absence has thrown the whole defensive mindset for a loop as his role was vital for being the “glue” of the back line and midfield. Up front, Pulido could be back this week but it isn’t necessary to have him as the front line has been firing on all cylinders recently with and without him. 

SKC has looked a lot better in recent games despite the back-to-back losses. This weekend could be a good chance for them to take another step in turning the season around. The match will kick off Saturday, June 22nd at 6:30 PM Central Time in Columbus, Ohio, Streaming on Apple TV.

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