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Guess the Starting XI MLS is Back #4 (Sporting Kansas City)

The Vancouver Whitecaps are in unexpected territory right now. Looking like they were making an early exit to the MLS is Back tournament, they have been given, at least, a one match reprieve. Time to get your predictions in for this one!

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

MLS is BACK!! Well, sort of. It has a new sponsor of course, COVID-19, and it is taking place in hell (i.e., epicenter of COVID-19). We have lost two teams already, but apparently we are continuing with this show. As a result, that means that Guess the Starting XI is also back. We have a few things to refresh. We only got through two matches in 2020, so I am not going to worry about the scores from those matches (at least not yet). Instead, we are going to treat this tournament as its own contest. Since it might only be three games, we are going to count all matches. For fun, we will have some bonus categories, but they will be tongue-in-cheek, so not worth any points. Let’s remind everyone how scoring is conducted.

How Scoring is Determined

  • Predictions will be ‘valid’ if posted HERE half-an-hour prior to the lineup being officially announced, which means 1.5 hours before kickoff.
  • You receive 1 point for every player you correctly guess to be in the Starting XI. Receive 1 bonus point for correctly predicting 10 starters. Receive 3 bonus points for correctly predicting 11 starters.
  • You get 5 points for correctly guessing Win/Lose/Draw.
  • You receive 1 point for correctly guessing each team’s final score. Receive 1 bonus point for correctly guessing both teams final score (for a total of 3).
  • That means, if you correctly predict the Starting XI, Final Score, and Winner, you can earn 22 points!
  • After each match, I will tally the scores and update the standings, which will be posted with the following match’s prediction article. I will typically post three sets of standings. First, the results from the previous match. Second, the monthly standings. Third, the first/second half standings (with your worst two match predictions removed).

MLS is Back Match #3 (Chicago Fire) Standings

Rank User Total Lineup Bonus Winner Score Subs/Mins
Rank User Total Lineup Bonus Winner Score Subs/Mins
1 AmandaC 20 9 0 5 3 3
2 Island Life 19 8 0 5 0 6
3 AshMan77 18 9 0 5 1 3
4 AtlantisB 15 9 0 0 0 6
4 tecate 15 8 0 0 1 6
6 GreyHouseEffect 14 8 0 0 0 6
6 Isabelt 14 8 0 0 0 6
8 CDPrior 12 7 0 5 0 0
9 chuckbiscuits 11 8 0 0 0 3
9 edmondk 11 8 0 0 0 3
11 Fudmur 8 8 0 0 0 0

MLS is Back Tournament (Overall Rankings)

Rank User Overall San Jose Seattle Chicago
Rank User Overall San Jose Seattle Chicago
1 tecate 45 16 20 9
2 Isabelt 44 16 20 8
3 edmondk 41 16 17 8
4 AmandaC 39 11 11 17
5 AtlantisB 38 12 17 9
6 AshMan77 37 14 8 15
6 GreyHouseEffect 37 14 15 8
8 chuckbiscuits 33 11 14 8
9 CDPrior 32 9 11 12
9 Fudmur 32 9 15 8
11 Island Life 31 9 9 13
12 Airos 29 14 15 0
13 rtomsheck 20 11 9 0
14 Mykvechikin 9 9 0 0
14 Spudbilly 9 9 0 0

Match Review (Chicago Fire)

Well, wasn’t that a pleasant surprise. The Vancouver Whitecaps live to fight another day. Congrats to AmandaC for leading the charge in this one. They narrowly beat out Island Life thanks to a correct score prediction and 9/11 on the lineup prediction. Not too shabby! AshMan77 finished third, with 18 points, thanks to remaining optimistic of a Whitecaps victory! CD Prior was the other optimistic among us, but their lineup prediction let them down.

Despite the five bonus categories, worth a total of 15 points, the highest total was six, shared between Island Life, AtlantisB (woo hoo), tecate, GreyHouseEffect, and Isabelt.

tecate was able to stretch out a one-point lead on Isabelt, but strong showings by those behind them means the gap has shrunk. tecate has a four point lead over third-place edmondk and AmandaC is just six behind. To keep things interesting, let’s have a lot of bonus categories again....because....why not! We will switch them up a bit though.

A few other observations

  • The 6am start time meant that several of our predictors from the first two matches didn’t get a score in this time :(.
  • GreyHouseEffect and Isabelt were SO CLOSE on the possession. The official number was 38% (per MLS website) and each predicted 42%. Needed to be +/- 3%. Tough break on that one!
  • Who would have thunk it that Hasal would have the first (and only) Whitecaps yellow card. I will tell you who. No one!
  • edmondk....I have been called a lot of things, but Shirley is a new one. I will now add it to the list!
  • Speaking of edmondk, seems like you were having a long chat with yourself! Good job tecate for getting that ball rollin’
  • AmandaC. Apparently you are correct. Optimism reigns! I had the same feeling as you with Khmiri. Looks like we were both wrong.
  • AshMan77....Chicago didn’t see least not on the pitch, but maybe in the locker room during the delay? Whatever it was, your prediction worked out right!
  • Island Life, you knew Teibert was going to start. Gotta to with that knowledge.

Match Preview (Sporting Kansas City)

Despite Vancouver only playing five games this season, they have already run into SKC, opening day of the 2020 season. Sigh...remember those days....good times. Sporting Kansas City were winners of a surprisingly challenging Group D. They should beat Vancouver, but you never know. LOL, wouldn’t it be funny if Vancouver somehow won this whole thing. HA!

What could be holding Vancouver back the most is their depleted roster. MDS only made four of his allotted substitutes against Chicago, namely because his remaining bench options were Pecile, Bladisimo, Matcalfe, and Colyn; each very unproven. Their lineup could face another blow as Khmiri is questionable for Sunday. Having said that, he has looked the weakest of the three centerback options. However, his absence would mean the club would be unable to go 3-5-2. We could see Adnan in a more advanced role again, as Gutierrez has shown himself well at LB, but Adnan has stated his preference is LB.

The majority of us were abysmal with our attacking predictions last match as Milinkovic, Reyna, and Dajome did not start. We could see that again, so that the Caps have some firepower off the bench, but they also risk falling behind quickly if they don’t have something to counter with. Let’s face it, Vancouver was lucky Chicago didn’t score on several occassions.

This could be a great match for the Whitecaps, as they see themselves into the quarterfinals, or the 25 minutes against Chicago could be seen as a blimp on an otherwise forgettable tournament for Vancouver. Which will it be? Time for you to decide!


  1. Time of the first substitute for Vancouver

Your options are: First half, half time, 45 to >60 minutes, 60 to >65 minutes, 65 to >75 minutes, after 75 minutes

2. Total number of minutes played by Gutierrez, Baldisimo, Metcalfe, Colyn, and Pecile.

Your options are: 0 minutes, >0 to 5 minutes, >5 minutes to <10 minutes, 10 minutes to <20 minutes, 20 minutes to >40 minutes, 40 to <60 minutes, 60 minutes to <90 minutes, 90 minutes plus.

3. Whitecaps first goal scorer (note, if you believe they won’t score you must say so to receive three points).

4. Method of Whitecaps first goal:

Your options are: free kick, corner kick, run-of-play, penalty kick (note, if own-goal, the correct prediction will be from whatever method of attack the Caps were in at the time).

5. First Whitecaps yellow card (note, if you believe no one will receive a yellow card you must say so to receive three points).

There we go. I tried to change it up a little for this one....and make it a little less random (like correctly predicting possession).