We are Family for Sporting Kansas City in tonight’s Pitch Pit

Lock out. shut down. take down You’re exhausted. In today’s Sporting Kansas City game at Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium (8:00 game time, 8:03.28 KO – I’m guessing here.), Sporting must fend off a formidable Austin FC attack, led by the top MVP contender and MLS Leaders scorer Sebastian Driussi, forward Max Urruti and midfielder Alex Ring, who had two goals and two assists in the four games between the two Western Conference contenders. Perhaps “Take Down” is correct (I don’t condone violence, but I appreciate the value of a “bottle” on display.).

Who is most important to shut down? Who should Sporting bet on to level Austin FC’s current 7-4 goals scored advantage in the four-game series or turn the tables? Maybe the guy who has 10 assists a season for Austin FC. 10 Assists – It would take the assists from Sporting KC Cam Duke (3) and Felipe Hernandez (3) plus the assists from Daniel Salloi (3) and Remi Walter (1) to add up to get the 10 assists from midfielder Diego Fagundez for Austin FC to reach.

But who will be tasked with taking out the left playmaker? Veteran Graham Zusi or “rookie” Kayden Pierre? I don’t know KC manager Peter Vermes’ plan, so let’s take Michigan-born, Florida-raised midfielder/right-back “Kayam Zuierre (Zooohr)”. He has the athleticism and innate/experience-driven football IQ to take Fagundez off the top scorer list. I’m kidding, of course, but it would be nice to combine the skills of the two Kansas City right-backs into a hybrid… I say Vermes goes with Zusi.

where and what they have

Zusi, a former winger/attacking midfielder, has been a staple of Sporting’s line-up since 2011 and is found at right back in Kansas City’s 4-3-3. Zusi has the most skilled touch on the team (watch him warm up for fun) and has miles of experience with 55 caps for the US national team.

Fagundez is a former Uruguay youth international (he lived there until he was five) who seems to have always been in MLS despite being just 27 years old. The best midfielder/winger occurs in coach Josh Wolff’s 4-2-3-1 formation on the left, filling it with vision and panache.

tell statistics

statistics international duel % CP Happen% xG G g+
statistics international duel % CP Happen% xG G g+
Graham Zusi 18 58.7 7 80.8 0.35 1 0.55
Diego Fagundez 9 46.2 33 85.7 2.51 5 -1.66

An interesting stat added to targets (g+). Despite Fagundez’s prominent assist and key pass stats, his g+ is negative and lower than Zusi’s.

Zusi is 3approx on Kansas City in dribbling percentage and its 58.7 dueling percentage leads the team for those with more than 700 minutes played this season.

Fagundez is in 4th placeth in tackles at 14 for Austin. He is third with 40 turnovers; a fact that only emphasizes that the former New England Revolution man spends a lot of time on the ball.

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At latest

Zusi defended well against LA Galaxy in Sporting’s 4-2 win last Saturday, adding a key pass and three precise long balls that balanced Kansas City’s effective attack. As a result, Zusi received the fifth highest player rating from

Fagundez received a rating of 7.1 from and passed the last time Austin played Sporting KC on July 30 with an accuracy rate of 90%th at Children’s Mercy Park.

Ink links

Fagundez Receives MLS Team of the Week Honors | Austin FC – 3approx selection of the season

Graham Zusi named MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi | Sporting Kansas City (


Well, Zusi has a humorous look at the attacking talent entering MLS…

And the veteran is likely to spend plenty of time defending tonight at Austin FC, who has been tackling KC’s right side many times over the last time out, as the passing network shows:

Chances are Fagundez will want to turn inside to face more of the field and play against the likes of Driussi and Urruti. For Zusi to win that pitch pit and turn the game in Sporting’s favor, he needs help for the defensive midfielder and his wing partner (likely Remi Walter and Johnny Russell) as well as right central defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. That’s the problem with players like Fagundez and Driussi… it takes a whole village.

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