Friday, August 31, 2012

A Must Win for the Supporters' Shield

With 8 games left in the season, Sporting KC is currently 3 points out of the race for the Supporters' Shield.  Behind San Jose, KC doesn't have many games that you can immediately look at and say "oh yeah that should be a win," but tomorrow night at Livestrong Sporting Park, KC has one of those games.  Tomorrow KC take on Toronto FC at LSP in a game that would be labeled a "must win" if KC want to remain in the race for the shield.  Toronto is sitting at the bottom of the East while KC sits at the top.  On paper this is a game that KC has to win.

Toronto had a midweek game this week against Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions' League, which Toronto lost 3-1 on two late stoppage time goals.  Toronto played quite a few starters in that game, including Torsten Frings, Darren O'Dea, and Terry Dunfield.  Lots of players that would be expected to play on Saturday will be playing their 3rd game in a little over a week.  KC has dealt with that themselves and the tired legs from TFC could play a factor in the game.

Sporting will be forced to make 2 changes to their starting 11 from last Sunday against New York.  Teal Bunbury is out for the season after his ACL tear and Aurelien Collin, who picked up a yellow card and is suspended for one game will both miss the game tomorrow.  CJ Sapong and Lawrence Olum seem the most likely players to replace Bunbury and Collin in the starting 11.  With Roger Espinoza not leaving during the transfer window, the midfield should remain unchanged from the midfield that helped shut down the New York midfield last week.

Myers - Olum - Besler- Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Zusi - Sapong - Kamara

Number to Remember - 77 - That's the number of days since CJ Sapong has scored a league goal for Sporting KC, in KC's last home game against Toronto FC.  With Bunbury out for the season, Sapong has to pick up some of the scoring slack.  Also another number, 28, that's how old Kei Kamara turns tomorrow, would be great way to celebrate his birthday with a goal.

Key Match Up - Matt Besler vs Eric Hassli - With Collin out due to yellow card suspension, shutdown the big Frenchman will probably fall on Besler.  Hassli is going to be a handful for Besler to keep in check tomorrow.

PREDICTION - As I said, if KC wants to be considered a candidate for the Supporters' Shield this game shouldn't even be a question.  Even without Bunbury and Collin, KC should be able to take card of business.  At home this is a game KC has no business losing or drawing.  Anything less than a win tomorrow is disappointing.

SKC - 2 (Sapong, Zusi)
TFC - 0


Nathan W Martin said...

Frankly the US Open Cup win lessened the importance of the Supporter's Shield itself. In years past a team could rest a little more, get into the playoffs, and make a run.

However, the possibility of hosting MLS Cup is a motivator well beyond simple home-field advantage.

That game, whoever is hosting, will be the best MLS Cup atmosphere in league history.

Hostpph said...

I hate when things get that ugly but at least faith doesn't fade. I hope that they can have better games.