Saturday, October 06, 2012

Do the Work Yourself

New York and Chicago are currently on my TV as the MLS weekend continues to play out.  A draw in this match means that KC could clinch the Eastern Conference with a win tomorrow in Columbus.  And while it'd be nice to clinch the East and focus on the playoffs for those final two games, the better thing to do is to not wait for Chicago or New York to do it for us.  If they do end in a draw today, great, but the key thing for KC is to still take care of their own business tomorrow.  Even if Chicago or New York win today, taking 3 points tomorrow will almost put the East out of reach any way for either of the two sides with 2 games left.  But the key to either situation is taking care of Columbus tomorrow.

Columbus comes into the game currently outside the playoffs, one point behind 5th place Houston for the final playoff spot.  The Crew picked up a win last week at home, but had trouble doing that against the Philadelphia Union, getting a late goal that appeared to be offside to win 3-2.  They've become a different team as the season has gone on, the additions of Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain have given the Crew offense a major bump as the two have combined to score 11 goals.  The last time the Crew played KC, they won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Arrieta.

KC can't rest on the fact that they clinched the playoffs last weekend in their win over Chicago.  They still need to create space between themselves and the rest of the East and to keep the pressure on San Jose for the Supporters' Shield.  The team will have Jacob Peterson back from his suspension, but the question is whether Peter Vermes will stick with Graham Zusi at forward and Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza, and Paulo Nagamura in midfield over inserting Peterson.  The other big question heading into the game is who is going to start at centerback for Kansas City.  Lawrence Olum has started next to Matt Besler the last two games in place of Aurelien Collin.  Rumors of a falling out between Colliin and Vermes, rumors of Collin leaving for a wedding without permission, but no confirmation of what the reason is.  Olum hasn't done poorly, as KC has shutouts in both of the games he's started recently.  Still most KC fans I think would rather have Collin in the game over Olum, but we'll see what happens with that tomorrow.

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

Number to Remember - 3 - Three games left, 3 points needed, it's pretty simple math at this point.  Just pick up the 3 points.

Key Match Up - Julio Cesar vs Federico Higuain - Higuain has been the engine for the Crew in their late game run.  He's sitting a little deeper and Cesar will likely get a few of the duties in marking him.  Cesar's going to have to be precise on his tackles, especially close to goal as the Argentine has scored a few from free kicks this year.

PREDICTION - These two teams have split the season series so far this year, both teams winning away from home.  With KC's road form this year, there's certainly a reason to be a little optimistic for KC fans.  Both teams will be desperate for all 3 points, no matter how the results shape out tonight.  And with an international break coming right after, going into the break on a high is key.

SKC - 1 (Kamara)
CLB - 0

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