Saturday, July 06, 2013

Looking for Consistency

Sporting Kansas City finish out a busy8 days with their third game in a little over a week tomorrow in Chicago.  Over the past week KC has gone from looking strong offensively to the having the same issues of finishing that has plagued the team for the past few years. At the other end, KC has survived 2 brain lapses against the Crew and looked solid in controlling the Whitecaps.  But as a whole Kansas City is looking for more consistency.

Meanwhile, the Fire have started to really find some consistency, especially since the addition of Mike Magee.  Chicago are undefeated in their last 6 games, and their last 9 in all competitions when you look at their recent Open Cup run. Magee has been a big part of that for the Fire, scoring in 7 straight games for the Fire after his acquisition from LA for the MLS rights to Robbie Rogers. They also recently brought back Bakary Soumare from the Philadelphia Union in a trade, who has helped out on the back line.  Chicago will be missing one player for the game tomorrow, starting goalkeeper, Sean Johnson, who always seems to show up against KC, isn't available tomorrow.  He is with the US team for the Gold Cup.

With this being KC's third game in a little over a week, there has to be some temptation at least to do some squad rotation. To maybe sit one of the center backs, or give Kei Kamara a break.  But knowing Peter Vermes we're likely to see very close to the same starting 11 that we saw against Vancouver.  The few questions are whether Seth Sinovic is healthy enough to start, or if Kevin Ellis could possibly get his second career start. It's also a question of whether Lawrence Olum and Soony Saad will keep their starting spots.  Saad seems likely, although fitness may be an issue.  Olum could be replaced by Paulo Nagamura if he's healthy.  I still expect KC to start two defensive midfielders in Chicago

Myers - Collin - Besler - Ellis
Olum - Rosell
Kamara - Bieler - Saad

Number to remember - 3 - That's the number of wins in 20 attempts that Kansas City have in Chicago in their history.  Two of those wins have come since the opening of Toyota Park in 2006.  The last of those wins was in 2010 when Davy Arnaud and Teal Bunbury scored in route to a 2-0 win.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler vs Mike Magee and Chris Rolfe - Magee is having a career year as he has 13 goals in all competitions so far this season, the most of any player in the league.  KC can't focus solely on him though as Rolfe has always been a pain for KC as well.

PREDICTION - The Fire have been conceding goals in games, they've only had 2 shutouts in their 9 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Those were against third division side, Charlotte, and against DC who has just scored 8 goals all year. While KC seems to be playing better on the road, I just don't see how KC is going to get all three points out of this one.

SKC - 1 (Bieler)
CHI - 2 (Magee, Rolfe)


Nathan Martin said...

Certainly a more routine starting XI and formation would help consistency. However, I applaud that during a soft stretch PV has put out a lot of the iterations that fans have clamored for: Saad out wide, 2 d-mids closer to each other, Zusi and Feilhaber in the midfield, Dwyer up top, etc...

Even if they don't work out, he's slowly whittling down the combinations before CCL and the playoff push.

Off the field, the team certainly did well with the 3rd(?) black kit: there were tons at the Vancouver game. I have to admit it is a bit sharper looking than my '97 white rainbow jersey. Not sharp enough to change my gameday jersey after all these years, but as tempting as any KC jersey in years.

Nathan Martin said...

As an addendum, I'm trying to think of the most successful midseason acquisition during the PV 4-3-3 era.

Is it Rosell? Even that was really based on a couple games late.

Certainly in the past, Miklos Molnar helped. Wolff, Gomez, and Kamara contributed, but again years ago.

I know that they have cleared some space, but I am curious if that will be filled with players expected to contribute this year or next. That Feilhaber fitness story, which is BS that he hasn't gotten there yet,reveals some of the growing pains acclimating to to the PV system.

hartley said...

This seems like a trap game for the Fire. They have been playing well since the Magee trade. Their confidence is up -- even without their starting keeper. They have owned KC in league play from the very beginning. And KC hasn't quite found their identity this season.

I am thinking this will be a big road win for KC -- similar to their victory in Houston.