Matchday 4: Sporting KC at FC Dallas preview

WHO: Sporting Kansas City at FCDallas

What: 2023 MLS regular season | game 4

If: Saturday March 18 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kick-off)

Where: Toyota Stadium | Frisko, Texas

Regard: Apple TV | Free with the MLS Season Pass

Hear: English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM/1510 AM – Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340h

Sporting Kansas City travels to Texas to take on Western Conference opponents FC Dallas. It is the third away game in the first four games of the 2023 season for Sporting KC (0-1-2, 2 points), while FC Dallas (1-1-1, 4 points) will play in front of home fans for the third time.

After a rocky start in the opening minutes and an early goal against the Portland Timbers in the season opener, Sporting KC have gone 264 regular minutes without conceding. SKC didn’t score a goal during that time either.

Sporting KC leads MLS in shots at shots (58), shots on goal (26) and key passes (48). They are second in shooting accuracy (70.3%) but 16th in expected goals and are one of three teams going into week four without a goal.

Dallas have conceded a goal in each of their first three games, a 1-0 loss to Minnesota, a 3-1 win over Galaxy and a 1-1 draw in Vancouver.

The strong SKC defense will be challenged by a talented FC Dallas three-man squad consisting of designated players Alan Velasco, Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola. Jesus Ferreira leads Dallas with two goals and scored a brace in victory over the galaxy.

SKC are still waiting for a number of players to return from injury. Captain Johnny Russell is still out with a hamstring from last season as well as Logan Ndenbe. Gadi is somehow getting closer to full training but still isn’t ready after missing out with knee surgery last season.

Questionable left-back Tim Leibold picked up a hamstring injury in his first start but was in training earlier in the week. Mexico international striker Alan Pulido is getting closer to the line-up every week and is in full training, but coach Peter Vermes indicated he is unlikely to feature in the matchday line-up this week.

Dallas is relatively healthy, only Tarik Scott on the availability report with a season-ending injury.

It will be interesting to see whether Vermes starts the new midfielder Nemanja Radoja on the six or stays with Remi Walter. Will he bring veteran Roger Espinoza back to the start? Or Walter move up or give Felipe Hernandez the start? Forward Marinos Tzionis started on the right flank in the last game after Khiry Skelton started in the first two games. Will Shelton or Tzionis (or someone else) start? Tzionis will join the Cyprus men’s national team after the game.

SKC are without a win in their last nine away games, so regardless of their line-up, they need to get the ball in the net to claim a win.

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