Union-Sporting KC: The Open Cup final lineups
- The question on all the Union fans’ minds was, as always, goalkeeping. And the answer is Andre Blake. The Jamaican’s 10-save performance vs. New England on the weekend was enough to sway Jim Curtin away from John McCarthy, who was in goal for the four games that led to the final. It’s just Blake’s fourth match with the Union this season and seventh consecutive match overall.
- The only other shock in the 18 is the exclusion of Fernando Aristeguieta. Curtin opts for extra defensive options, with Steven Vitoria preferred to Aristeguieta as the fifth international. There’s enough offensive cover with Andrew Wenger back to complement Eric Ayuk and Conor Casey.
- The rest of the Union XI is pretty standard for Curtin’s preferences. The attacking triumvirate of Tranquillo Barnetta, Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana is intact. Michael Lahoud is preferred to Brian Carroll in the center of midfield.
- No surprises from Sporting KC either. Krisztian Nemeth returns to the lineup as a wing forward after three games out. Roger Espinoza’s injury strips some dynamism from the KC midfield, so it’s Paulo Nagamura out there next to Benny Feilhaber. Depriving Feilhaber space and time on the ball to distribute up top to Dom Dwyer, Nemeth and Graham Zusi will be key, and it largely falls to Lahoud to corral that. The bench, however, is fairly thin for SKC, with Jacob Peterson the biggest threat.
Labels: Andre Blake, Benny Feilhaber, Conor Casey, Dom Dwyer, Fernando Aristeguieta, John McCarthy, Krisztian Nemeth, Michael Lahoud, Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City, Tranquillo Barnetta, U.S. Open Cup