Soccer MLS

Philadelphia Union-Sporting Kansas City: MLS Game Preview and Prediction

Union vs. SKC

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

There is still a mathematical chance that the Philadelphia Union will be able to pass New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo to jump into the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference.

The odds of this happening are pretty long but stranger things have happened before. First things first, the Union will need a win at home to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday which is not going to be an easy task. This is a Union squad that has only won two of their last nine matches scoring only five goals in the process. The Union will then need both New England and Houston to lose in their respective matches on Sunday.

Philadelphia is going to be relying heavily on Jack McInerneyConor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux to find the back of the net which, at the beginning of the season, would strike fear into the hearts of the opponent’s defense but McInerney has only made a goal once since June 5, Casey has scored once in the last nine and Le Toux hasn’t scored since July 3. Philadelphia will need one or more of the attack to step it up if they intend to upset Sporting on Saturday.

Sporting has already checked off two of the three things they wanted to accomplish at the end of the season. A playoff berth and clinching a top-three spot in the conference have been taken care of — now they set their sights on the Supporters’ Shield. Sporting knows that they do not control their own destiny in the race for the overall No. 1 seed and the home-field advantage that comes with that. Even with a win, Sporting will need the Chicago Fire to get a result at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.

One thing to watch for in this match is the amount of times the Union is caught offside — Sporting’s defense has caught their opponent offside 125 times this season which comes out to nearly four times per game. If Philadelphia is to pull the upset then the forwards will need to be aware of their positioning and try to keep the offside calls to a minimum.

Philadelphia Union welcomes Sporting Kansas City to PPL Park on Saturday, Oct 26 for a 3:00 p.m. ET kickoff. This game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.

Prediction: Sporting Kansas City 2, Philadelphia Union 1

The road team has won both meetings between these two clubs this season and I don’t see any change in that pattern on Saturday. Expect to see at least one of the goals scored in this game to come late in the game. Philadelphia has scored 13 goals in the last fifteen minutes of the match and Sporting have scored 10 in the same time frame.

Matthew Evans is a soccer writer for RantSports.com, “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google