Thursday, April 04, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Sporting KC and DC United will meet at Sporting Park tomorrow night under the lights.  Sporting heads into their last match before a week off while DC heads into the game after having a week off.  And for the third time this season, Sporting will "kick off" the weekend of games for MLS.

DC had last weekend off, but the weekend before they lost at home 2-1 to the Columbus Crew.  United though is a little injury struck right now.  Two players that started the game against the Crew will be missing tomorrow night.  Nick De Leon and Dwayne De Rosario will both not appear for United tomorrow night due to injuries.  The absence of those two will put a lot more pressure on Chris Pontius in the United midfield. How he fairs against Kansas City will be a key for United.  Whether they move him into the middle to take De Rosario's spot or leave him on the wing, he'll be the main guy that KC will need to key on.

Kansas City is coming off their best performance of the season in their win over Montreal.  KC was dominate in all aspects of the game and were deserved winners.  The question is whether KC can continue that performance into this week's game against United.  Benny Feilhaber had his best game since moving to KC, and KC will be hoping that it's just a sign of things to come from the former New England player.  Defensively KC had their full selection back as Matt Besler and Chance Myers returned.  Myers' addition to the offense was key for Sporting against Montreal.  Both him and Seth Sinovic were able to get into the attack.

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

Number to Remember - 18 - That's the number of wins that both teams have in the regular season against each other.  The teams are 18-18-9 in the 45 meetings, very even, so either side has the chance to take the lead in the series.

Key Match Up - Chance Myers vs Chris Pontius - Unless DC moves Pontius to the middle he's likely to match up against Myers on the wing.  If Myers can pin Pontius back, he's going to be able to get forward more and into the attack.  But if Pontius wins the ball, Myers is going to be pinned back in KC's defensive half not able to contribute to the attack.

PREDICTION - With the injuries to De Leon and De Rosario, the worry is that DC is going to come in and park the bus, similar to the way that Chicago did in the home opener.  The key if DC is going to do that is the same thing that KC did against Montreal, score early.  An early goal will force DC to not sit back, and instead try to attack.  The longer the game sits scoreless the deeper DC is going to sit without those two offensive weapons.  The other thing that KC is going to have to watch out for is an old KC "favorite", Carlos Ruiz, who now plays for DC.  He's always been a pest for KC and scored at Sporting Park last year for the Guatemalan national team.  Still DC's offense without De Leon and De Rosario seems to be missing a few teeth.

SKC - 1 (Bieler)
DC - 0

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