Friday, May 11, 2012

Trying to Get Back to Winning Ways

Sporting KC is back in action tomorrow in Chicago when they'll take on the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.  Traveling there with Sporting are close to 500 traveling supporters, probably the largest traveling support for Kansas City for any game, save maybe MLS Cup 2004.  Sadly I couldn't make the trip this year, but it'll be great to see the crowd that turns up to support Sporting tomorrow. 

Like Montreal last weekend, Chicago comes into this game on short rest.  They are playing their third game in 9 days, having played at Chivas USA last Friday before playing Real Salt Lake on Wednesday this week.  The Fire are undefeated so far in this short stretch, going 1-0-1, beating Chivas on the road before drawing with Salt Lake.  The Fire currently sit 9 points behind Sporting, currently in 4th place, but they do have 1 game in hand.  A loss by KC would really close the gap between KC and the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference.  Chicago looks like they'll be without new signing, Chris Rolfe, who is still questionable because of an ankle injury.  They'll also be without Cory Gibbs in central defense.  The key thing for KC to watch out for is Dominic Oduro who has become a very good striker in Chicago's system.  On top of that, Marco Pappa always seems to be a thorn in Kansas City's side when the two play.

KC looks set to put out a lineup very similar to the one that played against Montreal last weekend.  Seth Sinovic is close to a come back, but it sounds like Peter Vermes won't throw him out with the first team quite yet.  Instead, KC will likely be starting Michael Harrington again at the left back position.  There is one other potential change that could take place.  Earlier in the week, Bobby Convey had been questionable for the game, but now is no where on the injury report, which should see him start in the left forward slot.  If he can't go, the question becomes whether Jacob Peterson gets his first start, or if Teal Bunbury comes in and CJ Sapong pushes out wide.  There seems to be some need to change up the attack a little bit, as the team has struggled to really get the attack going.

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

Number to Remember - 16 - Chicago hasn't lost a game against the Eastern Conference in almost a year.  The Fire are 16 games unbeaten against the Eastern Conference.  The Fire haven't lost to the East since a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia at PPL Park on 5/21.  The Fire haven't lost at home to an Eastern Conference team since losing 2-0 to Kansas City on 10/12/2010.

Key Match Up - Michael Harrington vs Marco Pappa - Pappa has moved to the right hand side of Chicago's attack.  He'll be going at Harrington, who is getting his second start of the season.  Pappa always seems to be difficult for KC to deal with, most remember his goal that he scored against KC last year that proved to be the winner.

PREDICTION - Chicago has never been a great place for Kansas City.  The Wizards and Sporting have only won 3 times in Chicago and draw twice.  Up until the loss last year though, when KC fell 3-2, KC hadn't lost since 2007 in Chicago.  Sporting's form lately has improved compared to KC was 0 for forever in Chicago, but it's not the best place for Kansas City to play, one of the worst for KC to play.  But with all the fan support I think KC pulls out at least a draw.

SKC - 1 (Sapong)
CHI - 1 (Oduro)


Ky said...

We are going to get back there after a performance like this. No matter how you cut it, a loss is a loss. So I am not making excuses. However, this felt like the first match where we got beat. The POR and the MTL games were lopsided as far as possession and pace of the match. We just did not have the edge. Chicago took control of the match and we seemed content to let it happen. We lost out on possession and shots by a substantial margin. Even with all that, we are still 7-3 with a couple of games in hand. The only urgency I think is to snap the skid with result. We still are very much in the driver's seat.

Ky said...

I mean "not" going to get back there after a performance like this. Sorry for the typo.