Friday, March 29, 2013

Sporting Look to End Streaks

Saturday at Sporting Park, Sporting KC will look to end two streaks, the first, their own goalless drought, which now stands at 193 minutes after two 0-0 draws with Chicago and New England.  The second streak they'll look to end is Montreal's perfect start to the season.  They're the last remaining team in the league to have a perfect record, that currently stands at 4-0.  The thing with that record is that they've been doing it against decent competition.  They won on the road at both Seattle and Portland, two places that are hard to go into and get results.  They then came home and have beaten both Toronto and New York to get to the point their at. 

The Impact are a veteran team, with a lot of experience with guys like Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Marco Di Vaio, and Alessandro Nesta.  That's great for leadership, but one question for the team going forward the rest of the season is how those players' legs will hold up over the course of the season.  All four of those players are over 30, and Di Vaio and Nesta are 36 and 37 respectively.  Still, they're a very dangerous side, Bernier has become a very good set up man for the Impact, and Di Vaio tows the offside line, so Aurelien Collin and either Matt Besler or Ike Opara will need to be mindful of that.

The big question for Sporting heading into the game is whether we are going to see the team's two national team players, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.  Both started the USA's draw in Mexico, Besler going the full 90 minutes.  They returned to KC on Wednesday and returned to practice on Thursday and Vermes has said was going to speak with the players before making a decision. Push comes to shove, I think both start this weekend, with Zusi probably being subbed out at some point during the game to give him a bit of a rest.  Other than those two the other question is whether we could see the return of Bobby Convey to the 18 after he missed the New England game with some minor injury issues.  If neither Zusi or Convey can go I'd expect Soony Saad to get another start for Sporting in one of the three forward spots.  Meanwhile I'm not sure that Chance Myers is going to make his return as a starter quite yet, maybe on the bench, but not quite sure he'll be back to game speed yet.

Jerome - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Rosell - Nagamura
Sapong - Bieler - Zusi

Number to Remember - 4 - The number of goals KC has scored through the first four games, the number of wins that Montreal has so far this season.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Marco Di Vaio - As I mentioned earlier, Di Vaio will play right on the back shoulder of Collin the entire game, towing the offside line.  Collin's going to have to be very mindful of the Italian forward.  Another match up to watch will be Oriol Rosell against Patrice Bernier in the midfield as he'll likely be the main set up man for Di Vaio.

PREDICTION - KC seems to have solved some of the early defensive issues that plagued the team in their games against Philadelphia and Toronto, but the offense now needs to step up a gear and start putting the game in the net.  Montreal is in some really good form, they've been good defensively only allowing two goals in the first four games and have been able to get it done offensively as well.  At this point I'm not confident there's enough in our offense to really get this done.  Maybe the offense will wake up and make me change my mind, but the attack just isn't looking up to snuff enough to make me want to predict a win tomorrow.

SKC - 1 (Bieler)
MTL - 1 (Bernier)

1 comment:

hartley said...

I have a bad feeling about this one. Sporting hasn't Jelled. Montreal is off to a great start and it's still early in the season -- way before their old legs are ready to give out.

I do believe this is one of those games where PV should shake up the lineup a bit. Bring Convey back because his possession and passing is needed. Start Sapong. Sit Nagamura. Benny and Zusi in the midfield together.

Take it to Montreal early, then bring on more defensive subs to close out the game.

But I seriously doubt PV will/would do any of this. And so, I predict a 0-2 loss. Ugh.