Friday, August 10, 2012

Busy Stretch Closing Out For Sporting

It's been 56 days since Sporting Kansas City defeated Toronto 2-1 at Livestrong Sporting Park.  That game started a string of 17 games in that time frame.  Basically a game every 3 days for an 8 week period sees KC with some very tired legs.  Meanwhile in that same stretch of time, Kansas City's opponent tomorrow is DC United has played only 8 games.  While 5 of KC's games are their own doing (2 friendlies and 3 US Open Cup games), only one of DC's has been their own doing, a friendly against PSG.  So without the extra games in the last 8 weeks, KC has played 12 league games while DC has only played 5.  Not once did DC play a Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday stretch while KC played 2 games a week each week during that time frame.  All that adds up to a tired KC vs a comparatively fresh DC side.  And that's without taking into account KC's big win on Wednesday in the Open Cup that went for 120 minutes.

DC comes into the game on the backs of a 1-0 win over Columbus at RFK Stadium, but has won one of their last 4.  Dwayne De Rosario is tied for the league lead currently in assists with 10, although he is currently listed as doubtful on the lastest injury report.  Chris Pontius has seemed to earn himself back into the national team conversation with a good performance so far this season.  DC will be without designated player Hamdi Salihi who while out with an injury was also called up for his native Albania for a friendly this coming week.

Sporting KC besides being tired after 120 minutes against Seattle on Wednesday, still has plenty of injury issues to deal with.  Despite being on the bench for the Open Cup final, Jacob Peterson has been downgraded to out tomorrow.  The questionable list is where more of KC's current troubles lie with Bobby Convey, Peterson Joseph, Lawrence Olum, and Seth Sinovic all appear.  CJ Sapong is up to probable.  The good news for KC is that Aurelien Collin should hopefully be back for the game tomorrow to partner Matt Besler in central defense.  With Sinovic unlikely to play and Chance Myers still recovering from injury, Michael Harrington could possibly start and a first start could be given to Never Markovic.  Plenty of potential changes to the lineup that defeated Seattle on penalty kicks could take place.

Myers - Collin - Besler - Harrington
Nagamura - Thomas
Kamara - Bunbury - Sapong

Number to Remember - 2 - DC currently has two games in hand on Sporting KC and is only 4 points behind KC for 3rd currently in the East after New York's win tonight.  Extending the lead against DC so that their two games in hand won't allow them to pass KC would be a good bonus.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Chris Pontius - Pontius is playing extremely well for DC lately.  And with Collin returning from injury this could be an interesting match up to watch for Kansas City tomorrow night.

PREDICTION - From the highs on Wednesday it wouldn't be surprising to see a let down tomorrow against DC in the league game.  Still, in terms of league positioning, this game is extremely important.  A loss and the chasing pack in the East closes even closer and KC allows teams to move further towards their position in the table.  With only 11 games left in the season getting into the postseason and trying to win even more silverware becomes the key.  But with injury issues, and KC's poor form at home lately (KC hasn't won in their last 5 games at home in all competitions, the Seattle game officially goes down as a draw) I'm not sure KC will pull off the win tomorrow.

SKC - 1 (Sapong)
DC - 1 (Pontius)

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