It was August of last year, and Sporting Kansas City were well on their way to winning the Eastern Conference regular season crown when D.C. United last visited
Livestrong Sporting Park. The game went the way matches between United and the Sporks have tended to go since Peter Vermes got the horses to run his high-pressure 4-3-3-based system: KC hoarded possession, the Black-and-Red failed to create many quality chances, and we eventually succumbed to the relentless baby blue-tinged pressure.
We know at least some things are going to be very different this time around, though. That game in August featured six players for United who have no chance of playing on Friday. Emiliano Dudar, Mike Chabala, Andy Najar, Branko Boskovic and Long Tan - none of whom are on the 2013 roster - along with the injured Nick DeLeon, all got the start. What's more, Chris Pontius spent the game as an out-and-out forward, a position he's played less recently.
Of course, Sporting has seen their own share of turnover, with key pieces from last year - like Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara - no longer with the club. But Kansas City is still a dangerous team who is very tough to beat. Stay tuned to B&RU for more coverage as we approach gameday.