NWSL Matchday 23
Who: Sporting Kansas City (6-10-6, 24 pts) at Houston Dynamo FC (8-9-3, 27 pts)
When: Saturday, July 8th, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Where: Shell Energy Stadium | Houston, Texas
Watch: Apple TV
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City travel south to face Western Conference rival Houston Dynamo FC Saturday evening. Sporting KC (6-10-6, 24 pts) is just out of the playoffs in tenth place and need to earn points to climb the standings and remain in the mix.
Houston (8-9-3, 27 pts) is in seventh place and will be looking to get a result at home after dropping their last two matches on the road. Ben Olsen’s squad was shut out 1-0 in Seattle in their last match and 3-0 down the road at Austin before that.
The Dynamo have not played well on the road (1-8-2) but have been strong at home (7-1-1), their only loss at home was against Seattle on May 14th and their only draw on May 7th. Houston’s top scorer is Amine Bassi, the French born midfielder has notched eight goals and three assists in seventeen matches.
Bassi is matched on Sporting KC’s squad by Alan Pulido who also has eight goals and three assists in seventeen MLS matches. Pulido has been in form lately, seven of those goals came in his last six appearances.
Houston has a goal differential of -2 and have allowed 26 goals in league play, but only 3 have been scored on them at home. Sporting KC will have to be sharp to find the net in Houston.
Sporting KC added Felipe Gutierrez this week as a replacement when they moved Kortne Ford to the season-ending injury list. Gutierrez played for Sporting KC in 2018 and 2019 before missing the 202o season with a knee injury.
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said it would be unlikely he would bring Gutierrez to Houston but he should be available and will likely make the bench the following match.
In and out of form
After starting the season winless in their first ten matches, Sporting KC has been on a mostly strong run with a 6-3-3 record. The run of good play has mostly coincided with Pulido scoring and the team gaining confidence again. The most troublesome part of that run was two recent defeats at home before bouncing back with a solid 3-0 win over Vancouver.
Sporting Kansas City
MID – Nemanja Radoja (Adductor Injury)
GK – Tim Melia (Quad Injury)
DEF – Kortne Ford (Achilles Surgery) – SEI
DEF – Graham Zusi (Hamstring Injury)
FWD – Willy Agada (Tibia Stress Fracture)
Notes: Ford was placed in Season Ending Injury status and SKC signed former DP Felipe Gutierrez as his replacement
Ifunanyachi Achara – Knee
Teenage Hadebe – Leg
Tate Schmitt – Knee
Adalberto Carrasquilla – International Duty
Micael – Suspension
Assistant ref: Jeffrey Swartzel
Assistant ref: Kali Smith
4th official: Alyssa Nichols
VAR: Jair Marrufo