San Jose Earthquakes v Sporting Kansas City

MLS Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps at Sporting Kansas City

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  • Vancouver is 2-1-2 on the road recently
  • Sporting KC is a fairly average 4-3-2 at home, and also fell at Sporting Park recently in the U.S. Open Cup
  • Kei Kamara has three goals in SKC’s last two matches

There was a time when a Vancouver road trip was just another loss waiting to happen.

Martin Rennie’s team was 0-4-1 away from BC Place earlier this year. Stack that one top of last year’s 1-9-3 road mark after an bit of early success away from Western Canada in 2012 and it becomes clear that something was wrong with the strategic and / or tactical approaches when traveling.

But things have changed lately, and significantly so.

The sample is still a bit small, but the Whitecaps are beginning to stack up some points on the road, now 2-1-2 in recent matches away from their artificially turfed downtown ground. Just in June, the Whitecaps posted wins at D.C. United (four days ago) and at New York.

All that said, the Caps will be without some important pieces for tonight’s 9 p.m. ET kickoff. (The official league preview is here.) Gold Cup duty has scooped up Canadian international Russell Teibert (along with Carlyle Mitchell), and Vancouver will surely miss the man who has been instrumental in driving the attack from his right side.

Teibert has six assists in his last five games, putting him just one behind SKC’s Graham Zusi’s seven for the league lead.

At center back Brad Rusin is expected to replace the Trinidadian international Mitchell.

“Obviously Russell and Carlyle have done very well in the last few games,” Rennie said earlier this week. “It’s … an opportunity for someone else to come in and they have to step up when they get that opportunity.”

Zusi was back on the field after his own spell of international activity, once again in place at Sporting Park to help arrange goals for Kei Kamara (pictured, on the left), who has three goals in the team’s last two matches. Two real beauties came in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Columbus.

None of that is good news for a Whitecaps back line that is already without its three top men. Andy O’Brien’s recent injury added stress to a defense without Jay DeMerit (gone for the season.) And Y.P. Lee is being rested for this one, which means veteran EPL midfielder Nigel Reo Coker will likely be stationed at right back once again.

OTHER NOTES: The game also features two league scoring leaders in Vancouver’s Camilo (nine goals) and SKC’s Claudio Bieler (eight). Camilo had six goals and two assists in June. … Vancouver’s Kenny Miller has finally become productive with five goals in seven matches lately.

PREVIEW: Tottenham Hotspur’s “To Dare Is To Do”

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The latest Premier League Download makes its debut on Sunday, as we dive deep into Tottenham Hotspur.

With a brand new stadium under construction and a solid look at perennial top-end pushes, Spurs are among the more intriguing stories in the Premier League.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Picks ]

Spurs host Stoke City on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN, and “Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare Is To Do” debuts at 11 a.m. EDT, right after the match.

Ahead of Boro, Allardyce rips his Palace players

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Sam Allardyce, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Sam Allardyce continues to have a public go at his players.

The embattled Crystal Palace boss says his resume should have his Eagles players latching onto his directives. He’s previously said he “thought it would be easier“.

The Eagles, seemingly, aren’t. Palace has dropped in form since Allardyce took over for Alan Pardew, and sits 19th in the PL table.

[ MORE: Who is Man Utd opponent Rostov? ]

That’s only two points from safety, and Allardyce isn’t massaging his players to get them over the hump. From The Guardian:

“The advice I’ve given [players] over the years must have been pretty good because I’ve been managing at this level for such a long time now,” said Allardyce.

“My experience and my qualifications are far greater than theirs. They can talk about tactics and systems, that’s fine, but they’re players are they’re paid to play. I’m the manager, and the system and tactics are my expertise, not theirs. When I set those out, they have to put them into practice. Stay focused, stay within the game-plan.”

Allardyce has won less than 36 percent of his matches at every stop except West Ham since 2007, and he went 68W-46D-68L with the Irons. Palace has a massive match against visiting Middlesbrough this weekend, and this is one heck of a risky ploy to motivate his troops.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks – Week 26

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Premier League action is back after the FA Cup break, with plenty of big games on the way.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

[ VIDEO: Previews of every game

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Click play on the videos below to hear my score prediction and preview of each game.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Leicester City 1-4 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Hull City 2-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

West Brom 3-1 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Chelsea 3-1 Swansea City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Middlesbrough – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]

Everton 1-1 Sunderland– (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Tottenham 2-2 Stoke City – (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Report: Sounders on verge of adding AC Milan’s Honda

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 21: Keisuke Honda of AC Milan attends prior the Serie A match between AC Milan and SSC Napoli at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 21, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images
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The Seattle Sounders may have a game-changing transfer on their hands (inasmuch as a game can be changed for a reigning MLS Cup winner).

AC Milan is reportedly willing to release Keisuke Honda from his contract, clearing the way for Seattle to add the 30-year-old attacker.

Honda has 36 goals in 82 caps for Japan, and has played just 15 minutes in Serie A since Oct. 25 despite his status as a regular call-up for country.

[ MOURINHO: Ranieri firing is absurd ]

This untenable situation would be a boon for Seattle, who would gain Honda despite recent gossip linking him to Watford, Southampton, Spurs, and others.

The idea of Honda on the pitch with Nicolas Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey could spell a major sophomore season for forward Jordan Morris.

If this Japanese import has even a modicum of the success as another Seattle team’s look to Asia — See: Suzuki, Ichiro — look out.