Montreal will welcome back Marco Di Vaio, their leading scorer, who missed last week's draw with Dallas after returning home to Italy. He's not going to cause KC many issues with his pace the way Robbie Findley and Joao Plata did last week for RSL, but he'll cause KC different problems. Di Vaio likes to sit on the shoulder of the last defender and skirt the offside line. KC's back line will have to be mindful of that. KC's done a good job of containing him in the past, but in their last match up it was role players like Sanna Nyassi and Collen Warner who helped give the Impact a win in Kansas City.
The big issue for Kansas City this week is that they're going to be without their two starting center backs for this game. Matt Besler is still with the US national team as they prepare for Sunday's Gold Cup final against Panama. They will also be without Aurelien Collin, who picked up his 8th yellow card of the season, an automatic one game suspension for the Frenchman. Missing those two means we're likely to see a partnership of Ike Opara and Lawrence Olum in the center of defense for Sporting tomorrow. Opara has started 8 games this season, filling in for Besler or Collin when they've been called up, suspended, or injured. Olum though has seen most of his time this year in the midfield this year. Last year though he was KC's 3rd center back behind Besler and Collin, and even started the US Open Cup final against Seattle. There are other options if Peter Vermes wants to spring a surprise on Montreal. Mechack Jerome played center back for Haiti in the Gold Cup and could play there, or Oriol Rosell, who's played midfield since arriving in KC, played center back with Barcelona's B team in Spain. In the end I think it'll be Opara and Olum.
Myers - Olum - Opara - Sinovic
Rosell - Joseph
Kamara - Bieler - Saad
Number to Remember - 5 - That's the number of wins that KC has away from home this season. That's tied for the second most in a non-shootout season in KC history, only topped by last year when KC won 8 games on the road.
Key Match Up - Center backs vs Marco Di Vaio - A make shift center back pairing will be tested heavily by the league's 3rd leading scorer in Di Vaio. As I mentioned earlier, he makes a living on the shoulder of the last defender. Containing him will be key for whoever ends up lining up in the middle of KC's defense.
PREDICTION - Lately it has appeared that Montreal is starting to hit the wall I thought they'd hit due to the age of many of their starters. That said they are still going to be an extremely dangerous team, especially at home. With KC fielding a center back pairing together for the first time, things could be a little rough. A win would negate the Impact's two games in hand as it'd put KC 7 games clear of the second place Impact. KC can win this game, but I think the offense is going to have to carry them in this one and I'm not sure that's going to happen.
SKC - 1 (Saad)
MTL - 2 (Di Vaio, Felipe)