Friday, July 01, 2011

Back to the Northwest

Sporting Kansas City make their final trip out to the Pacific Northwest this weekend to take on another expansion side, the Portland Timbers. Portland comes into this game week in a disappointing run. Since they were defeated by Ajax in a friendly, Portland has gone 0-4-1, including 2 losses and a draw at Jeld-Wen Field. In their latest match they fell 4-0 to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. With the loss, Timbers coach, John Spencer, has seemed to make it clear that there will be some lineup changes coming up for the Timbers. I'd still expect Timbers' captain and former Wizard, Jack Jewsbury to be starting and ready to play against his former club.

For Kansas City the one known that they'll be without is Davy Arnaud, which I'm sure is a major disappointment to the KC captain as it would have been his first chance to go up against Jewsbury. Other than that, KC is fairly healthy currently, and I'd expect a similar lineup to the one that took the field against Vancouver last weekend. Kansas City certainly has the form factor heading into the weekend's game in comparison with a 9 game unbeaten run in all competitions.

Myers - Collin - Besler - Harrington
Cesar - Zusi - Espinoza
Kamara - Sapong - Bravo

Number to Remember - 3 - This is only the third time that KC has had an unbeaten run in all competitions of 9 games, the other two game in 2000 (12) and 2004 (9), both years finished up with KC winning silverware. Just something to think about.

Key Match Up - Graham Zusi vs Diego Chara - The reigning player of the month vs a player that was rumored at one time to be joining KC. Zusi could possibly be turning into the attacking midfielder that KC is looking for, but Chara has done a decent job for Portland in the midfield and it'll be a challenge for Zusi.

PREDICTION - This is going to be a difficult game for KC, unlike previous game it's going to be hard to get the exact lineup that Portland is going to put out. And it's not like overall Jeld-Wen isn't a tough place to play for away teams. Despite their recent form, Portland is going to be a difficult team to play. And with KC's traditional history on the road they never make things easy, but I hope the form factor continues to stay on KC's side in some regard.

SKC - 1 (Kamara)
POR - 1 (Jewsbury)


Nathan Martin said...

I don't know either team's lineup or what the result will be. What I do know, as a runner, is that SKC will be able to press high for much longer into the game at 69 degree Portland weather. Mark my words, going from training in steamy 80's and 90's Kansas weather to Portland's comfortable temperatures will add 10 - 15 minutes of high pressure. I like those odds.

Rob Swenson said...

I'm feeling pretty confident that we will get a tie or win from this game. If we sit back and play the counters and we're playing in cooler air so we can run longer then we should be very tough. I agree that the Jewsbury and Zusi matchup will be very interesting to watch.

Anonymous said...

All you have to know about Graham Zusi is the natioanl championship game with Maryland. When the guy scored both goals, well taken too, in the highest pressure game of his life, higher pressure than any regular season MLS game, because it was a national championship game and meant something, I could not believe he was drafted in middle of the second round. Other players are atheltecially more gifted, but if you look at Xavi and Ineista, niether of which are every the most athletic players on the field, you have to realize soccer is about more than athletic ability and potential, but it is about mental fortitude, and showing up in big games. When you see th Zusi being the most important player on the pitch in the college final, and scoring two goals like he did, you have to realize, he is more special than most. Even though it took a couple years more than others, Zusi's mental fortitute that make him a winner, are worth more than any athleitic ability or raw potential than any soccer player in that draft, other than Omar Gonzalez, who has to be mentioned. The fact that USsoccer doesnt see mental strength over raw ability is a big flaw and holding it back, but thankfully, Graham Zusi, is hopelfully turning out to be the pro I knew he would be and it worked out great for my wizards.

Christian Sinclair said...

1-0 SKC win. Goal by Bunbury on as a sub. No red cards.

I like Nathan's comments about the weather, should be good for us.