Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Looking to Clinch a Playoff Berth

Tomorrow night in Houston, Sporting Kansas City have the chance to qualify for the playoffs with a win, the first step in a three step process to end the season. A win tomorrow and KC clinch a playoff berth, a win and some help this weekend, and KC clinch a top 3 spot. A win would also put KC in a very good position in the Supporters' Shield race. Right now, only Seattle's maximum points are higher than KC's.

But before KC fans can even think about that, they need to take care of business against the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo come into the game having moved up into 3rd place in the East, four points behind KC after a 1-0 win over Montreal. The game tomorrow will be the second of three home games in a row for the Dynamo against the other three teams at the top of the East. The schedule makers at least let the Dynamo have these three games at home for this rough stretch. The Dynamo will be down two players for the game tomorrow as Oscar Boniek Garcia was called up by Honduras and Jermaine Taylor was called up by Jamaica. There'd been talk this morning that Brad Davis was on his way to KC to join the US team, but those rumors were apparently unfounded and Davis will be available for the Dynamo tomorrow.

Kansas City will also be missing two players for the game tomorrow with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi still in Kansas City with the US national team ahead of the qualifier against Jamaica. Besler's absence will be filled by Ike Opara while Benny Feilhaber will take up Zusi's spot in the midfield. KC hasn't look fantastic lately, but they were able to grind out the win in Columbus last weekend. Grinding out another result on the road in Houston would be a big statement for KC. They ended Houston's long home unbeaten run earlier this year, so Houston will have that chip on their shoulder, but getting another three points in Houston would definitely reestablish some championship credentials for KC. Sporting will welcome back Oriol Rosell this week after he sat out last week's game with yellow card suspension. One question this week is whether Claudio Bieler will be back in the 18 this week after not even traveling to Columbus for the game on the weekend. Bieler is listed as questionable on the injury report with a groin strain, so we'll see if he's back tomorrow.

Myers - Collin - Opara - Sinovic
Rosell - Joseph
Saad - Dwyer - Sapong

Number to Remember - 2 - That's KC's magic number to clinch a playoff spot. While a win takes care of business, a draw or even a loss could also see KC clinch a spot this weekend if Chicago drops points.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Will Bruin - Collin is once again a yellow card away from suspension if he picks up another yellow card. Going up against Bruin will be a tough match up for Collin. While Bruin hasn't had the year he had this year, he's still been a major threat for Houston.

PREDICTION - Houston comes into the game with an extra day of rest and didn't have to travel for either game, so they should technically be fresher. Both teams are going to be undermanned for the game though, and on the surface, KC's depth should be able to handle the absence of Besler and Zusi better than Houston handles the absence of Garcia and Taylor. But Houston has the chip on their shoulder and the knowledge that KC gave them their first loss at their stadium. And as a whole, Houston hasn't been a friendly place to KC. I'd like to see KC get the win here and keep the race for the Supporters' Shield alive, but I'm not sure it'll happen.

SKC - 1 (Saad)
HOU - 2 (Bruin, Barnes)


aletheist said...

SKC does not need any help this weekend to clinch a top-3 spot with a win tonight, which would put them on 54 points. NYR and MTL could still finish ahead of them, but HOU would fall to 53 points maximum. PHI would still be at 54 points maximum, but they would get there with only 15 wins, while SKC would already be at 16 wins, thus taking the first tiebreaker.

Also, I would prefer to see Olum in the midfield over Joseph.

hartley said...

I would agree that SKC loses this if PV puts out the midfield of Uri, PJ, and Benny. Putting PJ and Benny on the field at the same time is a huge mistake. They do not play well together -- running to the same spots and not covering for the other guy.

The midfield should either by Uri, PJ and Olum or Uri, Olum and Benny.

If PJ and Benny are not starting together, then I think this is a huge, huge win at either 1 or 2 nil.