Friday, September 21, 2012

Back to Canada

Sporting KC continue this short road trip to the east coast with their final trip to Canada where they'll take on the Montreal Impact.  After the big 2-0 win over New York on Wednesday, Sporting has earned themselves a bit of breathing room at the top of the East, but can't rest on that point with a number of big games still remaining in the season.  It's an early game tomorrow, a 12pm central time kick off for Sporting.

Montreal comes into the game having lost their last two games to Chicago and Columbus, both of those games have been on the road.  At home, it's been a different story for the Impact.  Montreal have won 5 straight games at Saputo Stadium.  They haven't lost at home since Sporting KC got a 3-1 win over the Impact back on July 4th.  They've made their home a very tough place to come and get anything from.  Even KC's win back in July was a very fortuitous victory, as KC got 2 penalty kicks and a deflected goal from Jacob Peterson to win.  Since that game the Impact have made some defensive changes, in goal now is Troy Perkins and in front of him, now is AC Milan legend, Alessandro Nesta.  They'll be a tough defense to crack.

Sporting's 7 game unbeaten run matches their run from earlier this season (although that one was 7-0 compared to the current 5-0-2 run in league play) with the win over New York.  They've given themselves a little breathing room ahead of New York and Chicago, although the Fire have a game in hand now.  Still it's always better to have the points in hand than the game in hand.  KC will have to play tomorrow without midfielder, Roger Espinoza, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation after picking up a yellow on Wednesday.  The choice of replacing him is the big one.  There are two specific routes that KC could take.  They could either just straight replace Espinoza, or bring in another forward and drop Graham Zusi back.  The first option is to insert either Lawrence Olum or Oriol Rosell into the midfield, leaving the rest of the lineup untouched.  The other option is to insert Jacob Peterson (who could also play in center midfield), allow him to play left forward, and slide Zusi back into the midfield. 

Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Cesar - Nagamura
Kamara - Sapong - Peterson

Number to Remember - 6 - That's KC's "magic number" for clinching a playoff spot.  That's points won/lost by KC and the team in 6th place in the East, so there's a possibility that by the end of the night that KC could potentially get themselves a playoff spot.  That's also Montreal's current winning streak at home.

Key Match Up - CJ Sapong vs Alessandro Nesta - The Impact's midseason signing for defense has helped to settle the defense.  Meanwhile, Sapong has now scored in two straight games for Sporting and seems to be hitting some decent form in the late run up of the season.

PREDICTION - Coming into this road trip, I think that most fans would have thought that 4 points would have been a dream.  Now with what would be considered the more difficult of the two games out of the way there are dreams of picking up all 6.  Montreal isn't an easy place to play though, their current unbeaten run shows that.  KC needs to take advantage early as they did against New York on Wednesday.  Getting some more possession than they did against New York is another thing that KC needs to improve upon from the midweek.  They can't give away that much possession, even though most of it was after getting a 2-0 lead.

SKC - 1 (Sapong)
MTL - 1 (Di Vaio)

1 comment:

aletheist said...

SKC cannot clinch a playoff spot until Sunday night--they need a win over Montreal, plus a Columbus loss or draw at Chicago, plus a DC loss at home vs. Chivas. The cutoff line for making or missing the playoffs depends on both Columbus and DC because they still have one game left against each other.