Friday, August 03, 2012

One More Thing Before the Open Cup Final

Despite what some people on some local radio stations may think, Kansas City has their biggest game since the 2004 MLS Cup on Wednesday when they play the Seattle Sounders in the US Open Cup final.  Before that though, Kansas City has a league game tomorrow against the New England Revolution.  This is the third and final meeting between the two teams with Kansas City leading the series so far this year with a 1-0-1 with a +3 goal difference from the home opener.

New England has been struggling a little bit lately, although mainly on the road.  The Revolution have gone the last 4 games without a win, losing at home to Toronto and on the road to Montreal and Philadelphia with a draw in Kansas City sandwiched between those two road losses. Just this past week, the Revolution traded their captain Sharlie Joseph to Chivas in a bit of a surprise move.  Although Joseph has only started one of the Revolution's last four games before his trade.  In return, New England got a draft pick, allocation money, and Blair Gavin.  They'll till be a threat going forward with Saer Sene leading the forward line, but their defense could struggle if AJ Soares, who is currently listed as doubtful on the injury report, can't go.

Kansas City had the reserves play the entire game against Stoke on Wednesday, and with the Open Cup final it'll be interesting to see exactly how KC lines up.  One thing looks certain, Chance Myers, Jacob Peterson, and CJ Sapong won't play a part as they're still listed as being out on the injury report.  Aurelien Collin has been upgraded to probable though and will be wearing a mask should he play tomorrow.  Sporting is on a 3 game winless run of their own with a loss on the road to Houston followed by a home draw with New England and a loss to Columbus.  A win would be a nice confidence boost for Kansas City ahead of the Open Cup final.  With those players that were rested on Wednesday though we'll see a full compliment of starters that are available tomorrow.

Harrington - Olum - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Kamara - Bunbury - Convey

Number to Remember - 7-3-5 - That's Kansas City's record at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002.  The best record of any stadium that KC has played in more than a few times.  Kansas City has lost on their last two trips out to New England though.

Key Match Up - Teal Bunbury vs Stephen McCarthy - With Sapong out the top forward in the lineup will likely fall to Bunbury again.  With Soares potentially out for New England McCarthy would seem to be the main guy to match up with Bunbury.  Sapong's size caused problems for McCarthy in the first match up before he got sent off.  With Bunbury it'll be speed that he'll try to beat him with.

PREDICTION - Most fans I talk to are already looking past this game and don't overly care about the result.  In a way I agree, but on the other hand the East has caught up with us.  Getting back onto the right foot heading into the stretch run is going to be a key or else KC could possibly find themselves falling further down the table and potentially out of the playoff race.  Getting a win in a place that has been a good away trip for KC in the past would be a good way to build confidence ahead of Wednesday's game.  And on the road KC may not see the bunkering defense against their attack as they see at home.  In the end though I think KC will do enough to get a result but will be focused too much on Wednesday and end up only with a point.

SKC -1 (Kamara)
NE - 1 (Sene)

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