Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Battle at the Top

Sporting KC have a big battle ahead of them to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference when they travel to New York to play the Red Bulls tomorrow at at Red Bull Arena.  It's not been an easy trip, because as of this posting, right around 21 hours to game time, the team was just leaving Kansas City for the New York metro due to the weather currently in that part of the country.  Per tweets from the team, they've been at MCI since about 1:30 this afternoon and still have not left.  It's going to be a long night for the team unfortunately and it's for a game that KC really needs to be at the top of their game for.

The Red Bulls come into the game on the back of a 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew thanks to a brace from Thierry Henry.  The Red Bulls are quite healthy now, and have a number of match up complications for Sporting.  Unlike the game in Kansas City earlier this season, Sporting will have to deal with Henry, and will likely face him for a full 90 minutes, unlike last season's late season match up that saw Henry red carded in the first half.  With their current home form, 10-0-3 and are undefeated in their last 5 games in league play as well.

Sporting is continuing to get healthy, Jacob Peterson continues to make his return from injury while Bobby Convey slowly makes his come back.  With KC on a 6 game unbeaten run in league play, and 7 in all competitions, KC is in their own vein of good form.  Combined with KC's good road form and this is shaping up to be a massive clash between the two teams at the top of the East.  With that good run of form still going for KC, I doubt we'll see Peter Vermes make any changes to the line up that has played the majority of this current unbeaten run.

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

Number to Remember - 1 - That's the number of times previously in KC's history that they've gotten more than 7 road wins.  That happened in the shootout aided 1997 season when KC finished on top of the Western Conference.  KC currently has 7 road wins this season, with 4 games left they can certainly come closer to that record. 

Key Match Up - Matt Besler vs Thierry Henry - Depending on who starts with him tomorrow, Henry seems possible to match up with local boy Besler, especially on set pieces when center back partner, Aurelien Collin likely to match up with another DP, Tim Cahill.

PREDICTION - This isn't going to be an easy match up at all for Sporting to get a result from.  The Red Bulls are an extremely tough team to break down at home.  KC's best chance is for them to actually take advantage of early opportunities that they can create.  The Red Bulls have given up some early goals this season and if KC can actually take advantage of them they'll have a decent shot at the game.  But the Red Bulls aren't going to go down easy and with all the offensive firepower they have it's not going to be an easy one.

SKC - 1 (Sapong)
NYRB - 2 (Henry, Cahill)


hartley said...

Honestly, I think they should start Jacob Peterson at forward and push Zusi back in the midfield. I know Peterson is not a full strength, but I think it would be better to go offensive first. Then we can take him off and push Zusi up later. We have played better with a lead and if we can get that with Jacob starting, then we have a better chance of grabbing the points on the road.

Nathan Martin said...

I would like to see Peterson in the starting lineup.

I suspect that Mike is correct because this is a midweek game.

I hope that Vermes will not wait so long to make a change, if things are not working out.