Tuesday, November 05, 2013

It's All Down to This for Sporting

Sporting KC have 90 minutes left in their season, unless they get a win against the New England Revolution tomorrow. A one goal win and KC will force extra time. A two goal win and KC advances. Anything else and Kansas City's season is over.

The Revolution took care of business in the home leg, riding second half goals from Andy Dorman and Kelyn Rowe to lift them to a 2-0 lead before Aurelien Collin cut the lead in half. The Revolution's young lineup caused a number of problems in KC's midfield and they were able to capitalize on it. In the back, other than a few opportunities, the Revolution defense, anchored by Jose Goncalves kept KC's forwards off the scoreboard.

While the forwards didn't find the net, Aurelien Collin did, and it could prove to be a crucial goal in the series. KC came back from Houston last year down two goals and were unable to find the two they needed to tie the series and force overtime. This year KC need just one goal to tie the series. To do that, or to get two goals tomorrow and avoid overtime, Sporting's forwards are going to have to pick up their goal scoring. Since beating the Crew 3-0, KC's forwards have scored a grand total of three goals, with all three coming against bottom feeders in the league (two vs Toronto, one vs DC). In that same stretch, KC's defenders have scored just one less goal than the forwards. The lack of goals from the forwards in that stretch has made the absence of designated player, Caludio Bieler, all the more curious. With Bieler being left at home over the weekend, it'll be interesting to see if he's in the 18 tomorrow, if not can there be any doubt that Bieler won't be back next year? The other question is who is going to play in the midfield tomorrow. KC has tended to field a more attacking lineup when they play at home, so the loss of Lawrence Olum may not be felt that much. It could also be boosted by the return of Paulo Nagamura. If Nagamura can't go, a midfield of Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber, and Graham Zusi seems likely.

Myers - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Zusi - Dwyer - Saad

Number to Remember 2-0-2 - That's KC's record at Sporting Park against the Revolution. The team has alternated ties and wins. The first match up in KC was a 1-1 draw, then a 3-0 win, then a 0-0 draw before a 3-0 win this year. If that pattern holds true, KC would be going out, so hopefully KC can break that.

Key Match Up - KC forwards vs NE defense - KC needs their forwards to come to life, they need to start putting the ball in the net. The struggle with the forwards has become a major concern. If Dom Dwyer or Soony Saad had really come alive and started banging the ball into the net the questions over Bieler's absence from the team would have likely been a smaller issue, but their lack of goals has caused a lot of questions.

PREDICTION - I am surprisingly not worried about this game. I'm concerned, wondering if Kansas City's forwards will wake up and start putting the ball in the net, but I'm not worried. I think that KC will find at least one goal to win this game. Whether they can find a second in regulation, I don't know, but I just think that KC's experience will help them to win the game. The Revs are going to probably sit a little deeper and force KC to have to come at them. KC will need to take advantage of their opportunities. I think this game likely gets decided by a Zusi set piece, KC has the height advantage and should really be using it more on set pieces.

SKC - 2 (Saad, Collin)
NE - 0
SKC advance 3-2 on aggregate

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

Probably best lineup can expect against NE.

NE has only allowed 4 headers, 2 of which were by Kei over Allston. Barnes is taller than Allston & Tierney. Limits CJ.

JP is not starting material in 2nd leg of playoffs when down a goal.

Feilhaber will be in there but I do worry about NE finding gaps behind a Zusi/Benny mid.

Nagamura fills the gap. And if by injury or fitness, he needs to come out there are 3 subs available. (If bring in Nagamura as a sub and he needs out, have to use another sub or play down a man.)