Match Preview: Union at Sporting Kansas City, March 10 at 3 PM

The boys in (dark) blue will look to steal a point in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

Despite having a new formation, additional talent, and more of the ball, the Union fell to Toronto FC in their home opener last week. They’ll look to correct that as they travel to Kansas City this weekend for a daytime match on Sunday. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this match in bullet form!

There are things working for the Union here.

  • Kansas City is coming off of a 2-1 away loss to Independiente de la Chorrera on Wednesday in the quarterfinal first leg of CONCACAF Champions League and will not be on full rest, while the Union will be fully rested.
  • The Union had more of the ball against Toronto than the 3-1 score line indicated, and seem to have the talent necessary to continue the success they had on the road last year.
  • New addition Marco Fabian converted a penalty to open his MLS account last week.
  • I believe this iteration of the club is more offensively talented than last year and, when coupled with the change in formation, may be better suited to come back from a deficit once they start finishing.

There are things working against the Union too, however.

  • Kansas City is one of the toughest places to play in MLS.
  • The Union are having trouble finishing again, much like Union teams past who generated a ton of possession but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
  • The Union traditionally start slow from year to year. Whether this is a function of Jim Curtin as a manager or something else remains to be seen, but we’ve discussed the importance of starting fast this year in this space before, and that hasn’t changed.

If I know Curtin, he’ll want to stick with the same formation as he did last week, the 4-4-2 with the midfield diamond, and see how it goes. It’s just as well; there’s no sense making drastic changes yet and this will let the players continue to get comfortable with the shape and each other.

It would be incredibly helpful for a plethora of reasons if the Union could walk out of KC with a point on Sunday. Will they get closer to where they want to be as a team? Yes. Will they get a point because of it? Probably not.

Sporting Kansas City 2, Union 1

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