Friday, April 06, 2012

Game of the Week

Tomorrow at Livestrong Sporting Park, Sporting KC compete in what is being called the biggest game of the early season MLS schedule, when they take on the LA Galaxy in their 5th league game of the season. KC will look to continue their best start in team history against the Galaxy who are currently 1-2 after their 3-1 loss to New England last week. Now the Galaxy face their first road test of the season, at a location that is quickly become a place many teams don't like to play. They'll be doing it without midfielder, David Beckham, who didn't even travel to Kansas City for the game. LA did travel US international, Landon Donovan for the game after he missed last week's game against New England. Donovan though is still listed as questionable and may not be able to play tomorrow. The biggest lost, early in the season at least, for LA was the loss of Omar Gonzalez to a torn ACL before preseason even started. With him not anchoring the LA defense, they've struggled to shut down opponents. Against a high powered offense like KC, it'll make for an interesting match up tomorrow. On the other end of the field LA is still dangerous, even without Donovan and Beckham. Their forward line still consists of Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle, both of which are able to score goals at will.

Kansas City is off to the best start in the team's history after their 1-0 win over Chivas. The team is currently out pacing the 2000 team, the team's second best start through 4 games (3-0-1). The team remains healthy, save for Eric Kronberg's back injury and should be able to put out their best lineup once again. The 11 I expect to start tomorrow are the same 11 who have played in each of the past 4 games this season. And while the offense has started well, the defense is just as impressive. The back 4 and Jimmy Nielsen, along with Julio Cesar and Roger Espinoza have done well to shut down offenses. The one goal against through 4 games is tied for the lowest goals against in team history with the 2004 and 2010 seasons. The offense for LA though is going to be the most talented they've faced all season by far, certainly a tough test, this time especially for Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler in the middle of defense.

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

Number to Remember - 4 - That's the number of games in Kansas City is unbeaten against the LA Galaxy. Unfortunately the last 3 years have seen draws between the two teams (1-1, 0-0, 2-2). The last win was a 2-0 win at Arrowhead, best known for Davy Arnaud's rocket of a shot.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler vs Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle - Through 4 games, Collin and Besler have faced no where close to the attack that they'll face tomorrow in Keane and Buddle. KC's defense has done well in shutting down teams, but they've still been giving up some decent chances to opponents. So far the opposition forwards haven't been able to make KC pay for the mistakes. Against forwards like Keane and Buddle though, they'll punish KC. Collin and Besler need to be on their game.

PREDICTION - KC are definitely the in form team in the league currently. And LA after the loss to New England would seem to be in some of the worst form. I think a lot of fans though are getting over confident in this game after seeing the 3-1 loss to New England. Unfortunately I am not sure it's going to be a high scoring affair tomorrow. Bruce Arena is one of the best coaches in the league. After seeing the loss to the Revolution I'm sure the teams going to be a bit more defensive minded and sit back a bit more. I think this is going to be a much tighter game.

KC - 1 (Kamara)
LA - 0


Anonymous said...

True 4-0 is the best start in our history. Does anyone know what the all time best start is for an MLS club?

aletheist said...

This is only "the biggest game of the early season MLS schedule" until next Saturday, when SKC hosts RSL. Most power rankings have those two at the top of the league.

LA Galaxy started 12-0 in 1996 (ninth win was by shootout) and 9-0 in 1998 (first win was by shootout). The only other MLS teams to win their first four games were DC United in 1997 and LA (again) in 2010.

Moop said...


You nailed the outcome on the head.