Creavalle, Barnetta and Sylvestre

A dozen days is all that remains until Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union meet on Sept. 30 at PPL Park in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. By that time, it will have been nearly six months since the two sides met on April 5 at Sporting Park in a 3-2 thriller that saw Sporting KC score twice in second half stoppage time to stun the Union.


In the interim, each team's roster has evolved in nearly identical fashion. 


Both starting goalkeepers from the regular season meeting have since departed with Luis Marin (SKC) returning to Chile and Rais M'Bolhi (PHI) finding a new home in Turkey. Midfielder Servando Carrasco played 77 minutes for Sporting Kansas City but is now with Orlando City SC, while Raymond Lee -- an SKC Academy product drafted by Philadelphia -- played 12 minutes off the bench in his lone MLS appearance before being waived by the Union last month.


Since their trip to Kansas City, the Union have added three players to the roster beginning with the signing of goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre on loan from the Carolina Railhawks (NASL) in May. Though Sylvestre has played the most MLS matches of any Philadelphia goalkeeper this season -- making 12 starts with five shutouts and a 1.58 goals against average -- he also started for the Railhawks in their third round U.S. Open Cup loss to the Charlotte Independence and is therefore ineligible to play for the Union in the competition.


Sporting Kansas City, on the other hand, turned to Tim Melia in net. The six-year MLS veteran appeared in all four of the club's U.S. Open Cup matches and started 18 straight games in MLS play until Sunday, when he sat out with a hamstring strain suffered in a scoreless draw at Portland four days earlier. During his absence, Sporting Kansas City has called in League Pool Goalkeeper Trey Mitchell -- who was also utilized by Philadelphia earlier in the year -- as a backup to 22-year-old homegrown Jon Kempin.


Among field players, Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union adopted similar approaches during the summer transfer window too. Each team made one defensive-minded trade within Major League Soccer while also procuring an attacking midfielder from abroad.


The Union secured the services of Warren Creavalle through a trade with Toronto FC on Aug. 7, though the defender has played just 72 minutes across three games for Philadelphia. Similarly, Sporting KC did a deal with Orlando City SC to acquire Amobi Okugo on July 20 only to see the 24-year-old sidelined with a knee sprain after 78 minutes in two appearances. Like Sylvestre, Okugo is also cup-tied and will not appear for Sporting KC in the final.


Most notably, Philadelphia landed Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta -- a veteran of the last three FIFA World Cups -- who has one assist in seven games for Philadelphia since signing on July 29. Sporting Kansas City announced the arrival of Jordi Quintilla a week later and the 21-year-old Spainard has come off the bench in each of the team's last three games.


With Major League Soccer rosters now frozen, no additional reinforcements can be beckoned in the buildup to the U.S. Open Cup Final. All eyes will be on Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin over the next 12 days for a glimpse into potential personnel decisions, beginning tonight when Sporting Kansas City hosts FC Dallas at 6 p.m. CT on UniMas.


Will Maurice Edu be ready for Philadelphia? Who will the Union start in goal? What backline will Sporting KC deploy to deal with C.J. Sapong, Sebastien Le Toux and Fernando Aristeguieta?


As the clock counts down, the tactical talking points will add up.