Monday, May 27, 2013

Cup Defense Begins

Sporting Kansas City will begin their defense of the US Open Cup tomorrow at Sporting Park when they'll take on the PDL side, Des Moines Menace.  This will be the third time that the two teams have met in a competitive game, all in US Open Cup play.  The two teams first met in 2005 at Julian Field on the campus of Park University in the tournament's 4th round.  KC got a brace each from Davy Arnaud and Josh Wolff en route to a 6-1 win over the team.  The two teams met a year later, this time in the 3rd round.  A stoppage time winner by Scott Sealy saved KC the blushes of extra time as KC won 2-1.

Des Moines advanced to the match up with Kansas City by pulling off an upset in the tournament's second round, beating Minnesota United 1-0 last week.  Former SKC Academy player, Brandon Fricke scored the winner for the Menace while former goalkeeper, Scott Angevine got the shutout.  The Menace are in a very busy portion of their schedule.  The game between the two teams will be their third in a six game stretch all in 15 day stretch, and all of them being on the road.  They switched up the lineup a bit, making eight changes from the team that beat Minnesota in their 1-0 loss in St. Louis this past Saturday.  That means that they should come into KC with a rested starting group for the most part.

On Kansas City's side of things, Sporting is going to be down a few players for the match.  KC will be missing three players due to national team duty.  Soony Saad is still away with the Lebanon national team, while Matt Besler and Graham Zusi left the team after the game yesterday against Houston to join the US national team for their two friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers coming up in the next few weeks.  The team was supposed to be without US U20 midfielder, Mikey Lopez, who was supposed to join the US U20 team in Toulon France for the tournament there that kicks off tomorrow, but Lopez was on the bench for yesterday's game, and it hasn't been mentioned that he's left so I think he very well could make his debut for KC tomorrow. I expect a few other changes to the lineup ahead of tomorrow's game, but not too many, as KC's roster is thin at the moment.  It could be even thinner if Aurelien Collin, Benny Feilhaber, and CJ Sapong are unable to go.  Those three missed the game Sunday due to injury issues and if they're not ready to go tomorrow, would leave KC with just 18 players available for tomorrow.  I think those three though may at least get some time tomorrow, just so that KC puts a more competitive team out on the field.

Myers - Opara - Olum - Gardner
Thomas - Lopez
Kamara - Sapong - Miller

Number to Remember - 1 - That's the number of goals scored by Des Moines in the two matches against KC the last two times these teams have met in the US Open Cup.  Des Moines also hasn't scored, or allowed more than one goal in any game so far this season.  The Menace have won 3 games this season by a 1-0 scoreline.  They also have a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss so far this year.  On the bad side, each of the two times that KC has played Des Moines, while they've won the two games, they've only advanced the one round further before being knocked out.

Key Match Up - KC offense vs Des Moines defense - Against Minnesota, Des Moines sat very deep in their own end and tried to hit them on the counter or through set pieces.  That's how Des Moines got their lone goal in the 1-0 win, off a set piece.  KC has shown some struggles in breaking down a team that bunkers in, especially when that team is on the road.

PREDICTION - On paper this isn't a challenge for KC, but this is the glamor of the Open Cup, it gives teams like Des Moines that one chance to pull off the big upset against the big boys.  KC has officially never lost to a PDL team in the Open Cup, going 3-0-1 in their history (they lost on penalty kicks against the Chicago Sockers in 2000, but that officially goes down as a draw). Even with KC's depleted lineup from call ups and injuries this is a game that Sporting should easily take care of business.

SKC - 3 (Sapong, Kamara, Olum)
DM - 0

1 comment:

Matty said...

Lopez is in France with the U-20s, right? I was really hoping to see him tonight.