Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Back to Action for Sporting KC

It's been a week and a half since Sporting KC last took the field against the Montreal Impact at Sporting Park.  That's a week and a half that they've had to stew over the 2-1 loss to the Impact that gave them their third home loss of the season in only their 8th home game. Now they get to take on their USL affiliate club, Orlando City in the US Open Cup.

The big discussion the past few weeks has been that affiliation and Sporting's four players that are playing with Orlando on loan. The will they be allowed to play or won't they was a topic of discussion from the time the potential draw was announced.  Shortly after the match up was confirmed though Sporting KC came out and said that Sporting's four loaned players would not be allowed to play against Sporting in the fourth round. That decision touched off plenty of anger as Sporting was seen as cowardly and bullying for not letting Christian Duke, Jon Kempin, Yann Songo'o, and especially Dom Dwyer play in the game.  But their decision was perfectly in line with the terms of other loan deals around the world.

The big losses for Orlando will be Dwyer and Songo'o.  Songo'o has started all but one of Orlando's games, playing every minute of the 12 games he has played in. Dwyer has appeared in all 13 games so far for Orlando City and has already set the USL-Pro record for goals in a season.  He currently sits on 15. Orlando though will be a very formidable opponent for Kansas City.  They still have Denis Chin, who caused Sporting Kansas City all sorts of headaches and scored Orlando's second goal in their 3-2 loss last year in KC. The Lions will also have Jamie Watson who has helped to set up a number of Dwyer's goals this season.  So to say that Orlando will be a push over without Sporting's 4 loanees is to underestimate tomorrow's opponent.

With Sporting have the extended break, there's no reason for Sporting to field anything less than their best eleven. Of course their best eleven right now is lacking a number of players.  Six Sporting players will be missing from the team tomorrow due to their national team commitments. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi with the US, Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jerome with Haiti, Kei Kamara with Sierra Leone, and Mikey Lopez with the US U20 team. Meanwhile, Soony Saad, who it was originally thought would miss this game while representing Lebanon, has returned and will be available for the game against Orlando.  Without those six internationals though there is still plenty of talent available on KC's roster.  Enough that they should be able to take down Orlando City.  With Kansas City's next game not until the 22nd they have time to recoup as well.

Myers - Collin - Opara - Sinovic
Nagamura - Rosell
Sapong - Bieler - Peterson

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins KC has in their history in the US Open Cup in games after beating a PDL team.  In 2005 and 2006 the Wizards beat the Des Moines Menace.  They then lost their next game in the tournament to Minnesota and Chicago respectively.  In 2011, Sporting defeated the Chicago Fire PDL team and then lost in the next round to the Richmond Kickers. This year Kansas City has beaten another PDL team so they'll be looking to reverse their history tomorrow.

Key Match Up - KC defense vs Orlando offense - Yes they don't have their leading scorer in Dwyer, who has scored 15 of their 34 league goals and 18 of their 39 goals in all competitions, but Orlando is still a dangerous attacking team, which was seen last year with the fits that Chin caused Kansas City's back line.

PREDICTION - Even with KC missing 6 players, this is a game that Kansas City should take.  With this game coming in the middle of an extended break, there's no reason for the best available players to not be on the field.  While Orlando is a very good team, with the talent KC will have available there's no reason for them to not take this game.  Although with the way that KC has played lately, especially at home, that's definitely not a guarantee.  And KC will likely make it tougher than it should be.

SKC - 2 (Bieler, Sapong)
OCSC - 1 (Watson)

No comments: