The Full 90

Prediction, keys to victory for Sporting KC in trip to Columbus

Defender Graham Zusi and Sporting KC will try to halt a five-game winless skid Saturday in Houston.
Defender Graham Zusi and Sporting KC will try to halt a five-game winless skid Saturday in Houston. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

SPORTING KANSAS CITY AT COLUMBUS CREW

WHEN/WHERE: Noon Sunday; at MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus

TV/RADIO: ESPN; 99.3 FM

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Sporting KC has scored only six goals in 13 road matches, the second fewest in MLS. ... Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are ready to return to the lineup after they were absent from Wednesday’s 1-0 loss in New York due to U.S. national-team duty. ... Columbus, tied for fourth in the East, has won four straight games at home. Ola Kamara, Justin Meram and Federico Higuain have combined for 34 goals this year. The rest of the team has eight.

KEYS TO VICTORY: The final touch has been lacking on the road, and so has the creativity, for that matter. Sporting KC was not only shut out Wednesday, it didn’t manufacture much in the way of threatening opportunities, either. Zusi’s return to the lineup could infuse some offense from the back line, so long as he has the mindset to push forward. In the midst of a tightly-contested battle for playoff footing, look for Sporting KC to be inclined to drive for all three points as opposed to setting for a draw, and that’s what it will take to break the road scoring woes.

PREDICTION: Sporting KC 1, Columbus 1

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