Kansas City has played 9 games so far this season, going 7-2. That means that there have been 99 starts for different players so far in the season. Of the 99 starts for Kansas City this year, 96 of them have gone to the same 11 guys. One start for each for Teal Bunbury, Paulo Nagamura, and Michael Harrington make up the difference.
As a whole, there's really been not a lot to complain about when it's come to the lineup, up until a few weeks ago. Before playing Portland, KC was 7-0 and seemed to be cruising. A two game stretch against Portland and Montreal has started to change that a little bit among fans. Especially after the loss to the expansion Impact, where the offense looked anemic. Many fans would even tell you that it was starting before that, in the team's 3-1 win over Vancouver. The team didn't look extremely well in that game either. The question is, is it time for KC to make some changes to the lineup? Maybe try to switch things up and force teams to change the way they address KC.
That leads to another thought though. While KC has been winning it makes some sense to continue playing the same lineup, but some changes have to happen to keep guys sharp. Looking at it that way combined with the lack of substitutes, you have to wonder about the depth that we've heard about. Down two goals against Montreal, KC left a sub on the bench even though a change in lineup could possibly have provided a spark. The team hasn't looked as sharp as they did early on in the season. You can argue that it's the league really starting to get into form, while KC basically kept the exact same team. But part of me thinks that KC's style of play is really wearing some of these guys out quickly. And we haven't even gotten to the really draining part of the summer. So the first question this week is whether Kansas City needs to start doing a bit of squad rotating so that they don't burn out the guys that have been getting the majority of the minutes so early in the season?
There is another question that this discussion brings up though. We're approaching the 1/3rd mark of the season, and with the way the roster and lineup has played out now, where does improvements need to be made? I still stand by one of my assessments from this preseason. I don't like our center back depth. Aurelien Collin is going to pick up a fourth and fifth yellow card some time this season. When he does, that means either dropping Julio Cesar back and plugging Paulo Nagamura in the midfield, or putting Lawrence Olum into the middle of defense. Niether option is ideal, moving Cesar means that we lose Collin's bit in defense, and Cesar's work in the midfield. With Olum we get a bigger drop off from Collin. I've been unimpressed in Olum's performance in the reserve games I've seen and his minimal minutes in league play. Getting a center back with a little more MLS experience to back up Collin and Matt Besler, that allows Cesar to stay in midfield is something KC needs.
On the offensive end of the field, improvements could still be made. In the past two losses, KC has taken 38 shots, only 6 of those have been on goal (16%), and none of those have gone in. KC needs a guy who can finish more regularly. A guy that will take and finish the chances that he gets. A guy that does better than putting 16% of his shots on goal. This is something that has plagued KC since even before this recent lull. KC is second in the league in shots with 151 (behind DC at 160 and they've played 2 more games), but are 7th in the league in shots on goal with only 45. That's just under 30% of shots going on goal. The team is also 6th in the league in goals. For the number of shots they're getting, they should be higher. Getting a guy who will do that is another thing to put on the wish list. Maybe the potential Spanish DP, who from what I'd heard was a forward will be back on this summer and KC can get a forward who will finish had a higher ratio. That's not to say I don't like our current forward, I do, I just think we need one who is an out and out finisher and I'm not sure that fits any of our forward line.
So what do you think? Remember, some of the comments and Tweets will be posted at the end of this week.