Manchester City will begin their preseason tour of the United States with a match against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, July 23rd. The match between the defending champions from the English Premier League and Major League Soccer will be aired live on ESPN 2, with coverage beginning at 6:00 PM Pacific.
Sporting Kansas City
Currently sitting atop the table in the Eastern Conference of MLS, Sporting enters this match in good form, having recently defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy. Additionally, they have signed their two best players, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, to longterm deals that will keep the World Cup stars tied to the club until 2018. Also receiving accolades has been midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who was recently voted MLS player of the week after contributing to both goals in their match against Los Angeles.
Sporting manager Peter Vermes has used 20 different lineup combinations in all 20 matches this season, which is a testament to the squad’s depth, considering their consistently positive performances. One can expect, however, that the team Vermes will put out against City will greatly resemble their last lineup from the match against the Galaxy.
The English champions are traveling with a 23-man squad that is bereft of some of their more notable names. All of their players who featured in this summer’s World Cup have been left on holiday, meaning that younger players will enjoy the rare opportunity of featuring for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Of the star-studded lineup that usually takes the pitch for City, absentees will include Joe Hart, Yaya Toure, Sergio Agüero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, and many more.
Also absent will be striker Álvaro Negredo. The Spaniard was not selected for Spain’s World Cup squad, but recently suffered a broken bone in his foot, ruling him out for a few months at best. Negredo would have been a likely candidate to start up top alongside Stevan Jovetić against Sporting, but will now likely be replaced by the 22-year-old John Guidetti, who has yet to make a competitive start for City.
Making his debut for the club will likely be new goalkeeper Willy Caballero. The Argentinian was recruited from Málaga, where he previously worked with Pellegrini, to provide competition for usual number one Joe Hart. But with Hart still recovering from the World Cup, Caballero will start in goal against Sporting.
The rest of Manchester City’s team will include a mix of stars who were excluded from the World Cup and youngsters who will relish this chance to impress. Their most dangerous player may prove to be midfielder Samir Nasri. He was controversially left out of France’s World Cup roster and will have a point to prove this season. Also in midfield, new signing Fernando will likely make his debut. The 26-year-old Brazilian recently completed a £12 million move from Porto. In central defense, 19-year-old Karim Rekik looks set to feature next to Matija Nastasić. The former has only featured once previously for City, and with the absence of their more established defenders Kompany and Demichelis, he will need to put in a good performance if he wants to keep himself in their first team.
Kansas City vs Manchester City Prediction
From a Sporting KC view, there could hardly be a better time to face Manchester City. Sporting is currently operating at an optimal level of form and fitness and have all of their best players available. City, on the other hand, are missing their most notable players, have injury concerns, and are only just returning from their offseason.
Of course, the gap in quality between these two sides is vast, and for City, the result is far less important than acquiring fitness and team chemistry. That being said, the above factors could make this match a surprisingly even contest. And as preseason matches tend to go, expect a fair share of goals as well.
Sporting KC 2 – 2 Machester City
Kansas City vs Manchester City Television
The Match will be televised on ESPN 2.