Thursday, March 06, 2014

A Look at the Depth Chart - Forwards

Final part of the depth chart for Sporting KC, up top. The three man forward line has been key for Peter Vermes high pressure 4-3-3. He requires a lot of work out of the forwads to be the first line of defense.

Center Forward
1. Claudio Bieler
2. Dom Dwyer
3. CJ Sapong
4. Soony Saad

Bieler has come into the 2014 season with a different level of fitness. He has looked more active and more willing to buy into Vermes' vision for the center forward in the 4-3-3 system. His six assists in preseason are a big example of that. While Dwyer is number 2, he is not far at all behind Bieler. At this point he's right below Bieler and will get plenty of time starting in place of the DP. Behind those two, Sapong can slide into the middle and play that position, as can Saad. Both of those two have converted more into wingers, with playing in the middle being the position they are more comfortable with.

Right Forward
1. Graham Zusi
2. Jacob Peterson
3. Soony Saad
Unsigned factor - Adnan Gabeljic

This is Zusi's primary position in KC's system. He's able to cut inside and work through the middle as well as was seen on KC's second goal against Houston. Behind Zusi is the ever versatile Peterson who plays either of the wing forward positions. Behind them is Saad whose missed quite a bit of preseason with Lebanon but will look to build on a 2013 season that saw him have a bit of a break out season. Then there's Gabeljic, KC's second round pick who hasn't signed with the team yet but has shown some very good speed out wide for KC.

Left Forward
1. Sal Zizzo
2. CJ Sapong
3. Jacob Peterson
4. Soony Saad

With the way preseason has gone I feel that Zizzo has passed up Sapong as the starter out wide on the left hand side. Zizzo's just looked better in preseason and appears set to replace Sapong as the starter on the left. Sapong wasn't helped but the injury he picked up late in preseason. But at this time I think Zizzo and his ability as more of a true winger has him ahead of the former rookie of the year. Then you have Peterson whose work rate continues to see him get minutes. Behind him right now again on this side is Saad again who isn't that far behind Peterson, it's more of a situation thing.

Some questions about the forward depth.

Has Bieler really bought in to Vermes' system?

If he really has and the four goals, six assists performance in preseason is a sign of things to come, KC is going to be extremely dangerous this season. A motivated Bieler that is scoring and setting up his teammates will see him compete for the Golden Boot and also see him as a dark horse candidate for MVP.

Is the right wing Zusi's best position?

This is a question many KC fans have asked. Zusi has spent time both on the wing and in the middle of midfield. He's had performances for each that have seen fans call for him to move to the other. The wing position though has been in spot on the US team and it's a system similar to Vermes' 4-3-3.


Nathan Martin said...

Unsurprisingly, in general agreement on the depth chart.

Suspect that CJ gets a few more starts than Zizzo, though.

Let's remember that Kamara (10) & CJ (20) started together one time, meaning that a backpost winger started in 29 of 39 MLS games.

Zizzo to Sapong will be a powerful combination when Zusi is absent or shifted to midfield. Along with taking some starting minutes from Kamara, Saad, & Jacob Peterson, he's also 1st choice winger off the bench which could easily add up to over 1500 minutes.

He may be the best traditional winger that the PV 4-3-3 has seen.

Wouldn't be surprised if Zizzo is key part of PV's road squad tactics.

Anonymous said...

it'll be interesting to see if zusi is played in the midfield more after the world cup.