MX23RW : Monday, May 17 03:56:15| >> :600:230441:230441:
Apr 24, 2021 at 12.30am UK at Children's Mercy Park
KansasSporting Kansas City
Orlando CityOrlando City
Busio (45')
Puncec (87')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Nani (79')
Smith (12'), Mendez (61')

Preview: Sporting Kansas City vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Major League Soccer clash between Sporting Kansas City and Orlando City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of the most improved teams in Major League Soccer in 2020 will face each other on Friday as Sporting Kansas City host Orlando City from Children's Mercy Park.

Kansas City began their regular season with a 2-1 come-from-behind win against the New York Red Bulls, while Orlando opened with a 0-0 draw at home to Atlanta United.

Match preview

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes pictured in August 2020© Reuters

In a shortened 2020 regular season, Sporting KC showed tremendous progress, finishing first in the Western Conference, which was 10 places better than their 2019 campaign.

A significant reason for the quick turnaround was their play defensively, conceding just 25 goals last year after giving up 67 in their previous campaign.

Manager Peter Vermes is the longest-serving coach in MLS, and he is also one of the most successful winning 156 games since 2009, which puts him just two wins shy of Dominic Kinnear for fourth all-time in league history.

The long-time manager would like to see his team improve their consistency at home, where they lost half of their regular-season games in 2020.

Lately though they have not had any problems in their opening games from Children's Mercy Park, winning in each of their last two encounters by a combined score of 6-0.

Orlando went from an 11th-place finish in 2019 to fourth place last year in a highly competitive Eastern Conference.

Under manager Oscar Pareja the Lions have reached new heights, making it to the final of the MLS is Back Tournament and also getting into the post-season in 2020 for the first time in club history.

Playing away from Exploria Stadium has proven extremely difficult for this franchise, having never won more than five games on the road in a single regular-season campaign.

They have fared well against a strong Sporting KC side however, beating the Wizards in their previous two regular-season meetings.

Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer form:
  • W

Orlando City Major League Soccer form:
  • D

Team News

Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja during the second half against the Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium in September 2020© Reuters

KC keeper Tim Melia is still recovering from a chest injury, while Kendall McIntosh has an eye injury and Brooks Thompson has a lower back problem which means John Pulskamp will start in goal once again.

Defender Amadou Dia has a hamstring injury, and veteran Graham Zusi is still nursing a foot injury, so we can expect to see Nicolas Isimat-Mirin alongside Andreu Fontas starting in their place.

Orlando striker Alexandre Pato suffered a lower-body injury in the Lions' opening match, but the club says he will not need surgery which means he could be available on Friday.

The news is not as good for left-back Joao Moutinho, who is out with a groin injury, while midfielder Uri Rosell and defender Robin Jansson are both questionable with lower-body injuries.

The Lions leading goalscorer last season Chris Mueller needs just three more appearances to reach 100 in all competitions; Mueller and Tesho Akindele should bolster the offence on a team that scored the third-most goals in the Eastern Conference last season.

Sporting Kansas City possible starting lineup:
Pulskamp; Martins, Fontas, Isimat-Mirin, Lindsey; Espinoza, Walter, Kinda; Salloi, Busio, Shelton

Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Teixeira, Carlos, Schlegel, Smith; Mueller, Urso, Mendez, Nani; Akindele; Pato

SM words green background

We say: Sporting Kansas City 0-1 Orlando City

There is very little to choose between these sides; they both conceded the same amount of goals last year (25), and Orlando were only two points better in the regular season. Injuries defensively have taken their toll on the Wizards, so look for the Lions' balanced attack to take advantage and win their third consecutive match versus KC.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data

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Daryl Dike in action for Orlando City on November 20, 2020
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