Friday, November 22, 2013

Can Sporting Take the Next Step?

After having last week off, Sporting KC is back in action for the deciding game of the Eastern Conference against the Houston Dynamo. The two teams come to Kansas City with the series level at 0-0 after a draw in Houston two weeks ago. With the scores level, everything is to play for in the second leg, basically making it a one game series.

They Dynamo have to feel decent about their chances heading to Kansas City. For the past two years they have ended Kansas City's season at Sporting Park. Two years ago it was in a one off series the Dynamo came into KC and left 2-0 winners. Last year after a 2-0 win in the first leg, the Dynamo came into KC, sat back and lost 1-0, which was enough to send them through over KC again. This year it looks like Houston could be down a couple of starters. Both Will Bruin and Ricardo Clark have missed practice since the first leg due to injuries. With Bruin out, the Dynamo offense takes a hit. Based on the way the Dynamo played after he went off, Ricardo Clark's absence may be felt the least. After Clark went off in the first leg, the Dynamo's switch to a 4-3-3 caused KC plenty of problems over the rest of the game.

Sporting KC will be looking to win their first series against the Dynamo in their fourth attempt. KC has lost series against the Dynamo in 2007, 2011, and 2012. The first leg saw Sporting put out a line up extremely similar to the one that they put out in the first leg against the Revolution that KC lost 2-1. If Peter Vermes follows a similar plan, I'd expect KC to make some changes, specifically in the front line. Like against New England, I expect Teal Bunbury to make way for Dom Dwyer to come in. With the change in the lineup, also expect a bit of a change in philosophy, KC will likely bring out a little more attacking wise

Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Rosell - Nagamura
Sapong - Dwyer - Zusi

Number to Remember - 14 - This is the fourteenth time in the last 3 years that Sporting KC and Houston have met up in all competitions. KC's played no one else even near that many times in the time frame.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Bobby Boswell - With Dwyer likely to be inserted into the lineup for Bunbury, a lot of the offense is going to fall on Dwyer. Up against the Dynamo back line, Dwyer is going to need to step up his game as he only has three goals. KC will need Dwyer to step up tomorrow.

PREDICTION - These two teams don't exactly play pretty soccer when they meet up. The games tend to be quite physical and tight. Tomorrow I'd expect no different from the two teams. In fact I'd be quite surprised if it wasn't. This game is going to be decided by a single goal. If KC can grab an early lead though the game could open up more as Houston has to chase the game. The opposite happens, Houston scores early, and this game will drag as Houston sit back.

I'm still not sure which way the game will go, but whichever way it goes I expect it to be just by a 1-0 scoreline.


Anonymous said...

I really hope that will be the starting lineup. may the soccer gods have mercy on us and not let Houston score first - I can't handle watching that level of bunkering

Nathan Martin said...

Frank! the discussion that I've heard over this game.

- Houston has serious troubles scoring, let alone on the road.

- The goal differential at home with Kei not playing is much higher than when he played 90.

- No Houston team has played in sub-40 degree weather during a playoff run.

- I'll seriously consider adopting witchcraft/supersticion if Houston win.

SKC is the better team by my eyes and by the data.