Friday, March 09, 2012

Time to Kick the Season Off

Record overall vs DC in MLS - 16-18-9 (W-L-T)
Record at RFK vs DC - 5-12-4
Last meeting, 10/22/11, 1-0 (Besler 54)

Sporting KC kick off the 2012 season tomorrow night at RFK Stadium against DC United, the same team KC ended the regular season against last year. This is the 7th time that these two teams have met with in the first game of the season. In the previous 6 meetings, KC is 4-2, and have won the last 4 meetings against DC, scoring 17 goals, while conceding 10.

DC has set out to improve their team during the offseason after missing the playoffs in 2011, Robbie Russell was picked up from RSL in the re-entry draft, and the team brought in Emiliano Dudar from BSC Young Boys. On the offensive end they added more fire power, bringing in Maicon Santos from Dallas, and more specifically getting Hamdi Salihi from Rapid Vienna. And the biggest news of all was the re-signing of Dwayne DeRosario, the former MVP is back with DC and is not a DP in name only. United is an improved squad, but KC getting them early may be a very good thing for KC.

On the other end, KC has stood pat with much of it's roster, only making a few minor changes to the team. When it comes to being a cohesion team, KC is probably a step ahead of their hosts for opening day. Graham Zusi has been declared fit for action and I don't' see any reason why the midfielder doesn't start tomorrow night. The same goes for Julio Cesar, who I also expect to be starting tomorrow night. Really I only see KC having one new player in who didn't start the last game of the 2011 season against Houston. Bobby Convey will enter the lineup for either CJ Sapong or Teal Bunbury, depending on how Peter Vermes wants to line up tomorrow.

Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Espinoza
Kamara - Bunbury - Convey

Key Match Up - Aurelein Collin vs Hamdi Salihi - the Albanian international has a good scoring record everywhere he plays. While DeRosario is still going to be a focal point of DC's attack, shutting down DC's new DP is going to be a key for KC. That job is likely to fall to KC's Frenchman, Collin. His physicality against other players last season should make for an interesting match up this weekend.

PREDICTION - KC hasn't always been a very successful team on the road, but they have been successful in season openers, going 10-4-2. The openers also seem to not lack for goals, only once has less than 2 goals been scored in one of KC's opening games. This year will likely not be any different. KC will have the experience factor together between their players, but DC is likely to have the best player on the field in DeRosario. KC should be able to exploit DC's defense, which is still less than impressive on paper, especially with their offensive power. It's a matter of KC being able to shut DC down at the other end.

KC - 2 (Bunbury, Sapong)
DC - 2 (DeRosario, Pontius)

No comments: