Sporting KC vs FC Dallas: Storylines and Projected Lineup

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: D.C. United midfielder Marcelo Sarvas (7) chases after Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber (10) during an MLS match on March 04, 2017, at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United played to a 0-0 tie. (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas City, Kansas- Sporting KC are absolutely itching to get going in their home opener. That was a theme in their Media Day on Tuesday. However, they¬†are very aware of their opponent. Another underlying theme of their media sessions on Tuesday was that they clearly feel that FC Dallas is the best team in the league. Saturday will be a cold game at kickoff, but things on the field should be quite hot. We look forward to the storylines, and then break down the Starting XI for Saturday’s match.

Sporting KC vs FC Dallas: Storylines and Projected Lineup

Will Latif Blessing Make His Debut?

One small surprise in the season opener, was the fact that Jimmy Medranda ended up starting on the wing over Latif Blessing. Blessing spent nearly the entire preseason working with the first team, and Medranda spent most of their preseason matches with the second team. Granted, Medranda showed some really good flashes with the second team and earned his start . However, they seemed out of synch. At media day on Tuesday, I asked Peter Vermes about the decision and his response was, “Was he supposed to start?”

That should tell you enough that they’re simply trying to protect the young player. He’s barely 20 years old, and is within the first 3-5 months of life in America. Most African-born players usually go through France before going elsewhere. Not Blessing. Blessing came straight from Ghana, where he spent the first 19 years of his life. A venture into America, as his first stop out of Africa is something that will be a major adjustment for him. It’s logical to think they’re protecting him, and they should. I’m not too sure if they’re ready to run him out yet. But if they need a spark on Saturday, they might just call on him off the bench.

How Will Sporting Handle That FC Dallas Firepower?

FC Dallas already went in and grabbed three points in Los Angeles to start the season. Now they come to another difficult place to play looking to get three points again. Almost every player I talked to on Tuesday said that FC Dallas was the best team in the league, including Vermes. That should tell you enough about it. When asked about having to be disciplined against a team like that, Ike Opara said they have to be very disciplined.

“They’ve got guys who are dynamic moving forward, and they don’t always stay true, so that makes things difficult for a back line.” He added that they have to be aware of their dangerous players at all times.

It will be intriguing to see the matchup unfold, as Sporting are built pretty well to compete against a team like them with who they have on the backline and in the midfield.

Starting XI

I don’t think Sporting make any changes going into this week. Jimmy Medranda looked great in practice and I think he’ll be just fine. One thing I thought was interesting was what side Medranda and Gerso Played on. Medranda normally plays on the left as a winger, and Gerso played on the right during most of the pre-season. I’m not sure if that sticks going into this week, but regardless, I doubt the team changes. Here is how I would run SKC out against FC Dallas: