Friday, April 26, 2013

Back Home

After the rough coast to coast road trip that saw Kansas City go 1-1, the team returns home for the first of three straight at home on Saturday night against the Portland Timbers.

Portland comes into the game after spending the last two weeks playing the San Jose Earthquakes home and away.  The home match was marred by situations on and off the field.  Off the field it was from attacks and confrontations from fans that prompted the Earthquakes to make a statement regarding their supporters. On the field, it was Alan Gordon's homophobic slur that drew a lot of people's attention.  In the return leg the next week in San Jose, things were quite tame in comparison.  The Timbers have looked like a much improved side under Caleb Porter and currently sit on 10 points with a 2-1-4 record.  Will Johnson has really been a key for them since coming over from Salt Lake in the offseason.  Former Wizard, Michael Harrington has also been making the most of his return to a starting position.

With the frustrations of LA now behind them, Kansas City will hope to put the performance behind them quickly with a solid performance against the Timbers.  The question is whether Peter Vermes will stick with the same lineup that's gotten them through their recent unbeaten run, or switch things up.  Oriol Rosell had a very poor game against LA and was replaced at half time by Peterson Joseph, does Vermes throw Joseph his first start of the season over the Spaniard? Another option would be to let Soony Saad or Bobby Convey get a start in place of CJ Sapong.  In the end though I'd be surprised if Vermes changes up the lineup, unless there is an injury.

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

Number to Remember - 1 - Last year Portland ended KC's 7 game winning streak to start the season with a 1-0 win at Jeld-Wen Field last year.  The lone goal in that game a Chance Myers own goal that allowed Portland to grab the win.

Key Match Up Graham Zusi vs Michael Harrington - Harrington's played both wingback positions for Portland this season since his move up there, recently he's played on the left which would match him up with KC's Zusi.  It'd also force him to be mindful of the overlapping runs of Myers that have caused trouble for teams. 

PREDICTION - Back at home Kansas City hasn't been lighting up the score board, but are really controlling play and getting results.  The shutout streak may be over, but the team is still very well off defensively. The Timbers are one of the few teams left in the league that haven't been shutout yet this season, so KC's defense will need to find a way to shut them down.  Meanwhile KC's attack really could use a game to just break out and get their confidence up.

SKC - 2 (Bieler, Sapong)
PTFC - 0

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