Friday, March 14, 2014

Match Day 2: Fighting on Two Fronts

Sporting KC continue their busy start to the 2014 season tomorrow in their MLS home opener against FC Dallas. KC is coming into the game after an intense, hard fought game against Cruz Azul. They must now find a way to get up for this game before traveling to Mexico City for the second leg.

Dallas comes into the game after topping the Montreal Impact 3-2 last weekend at home. Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez, and Mauro Diaz all found net for Dallas in the win. Dallas has a bit of a new look this year after bringing back Oscar Pareja from Colorado, they've added new forwards including Andres Escobar and David Texeira, both of whom did not play a role in the win over the Impact. Both could play a part in the game this coming weekend. They'll also have more bit in their midfield with the addition of Hendry Thomas, also from Colorado.

For Kansas City, there's a question of how exactly they'll come out for the game tomorrow. They will likely rest a few players ahead of the trip to higher altitude for the game against Cruz Azul. Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis, and Graham Zusi have played every minute of the first two games, and Benny Feilhaber isn't that far behind. Getting a few of those guys a rest would not be surprising ahead of this game and the Champions' League game. A healthy Chance Myers can slot back in at right back, and if not him, then Mechack Jerome can step in. With Aurelien Collin sitting out Wednesday and Seth Sinovic suspended this coming Wednesday I'd expect them both to start tomorrow. There could also be room for the likes of Jimmy Medranda or Mikey Lopez to make their first MLS start. This really is one of the harder games to figure out exactly how Kansas City is going to come out, which could work to their  advantage.

Jerome - Collin - Opara - Sinovic
Olum - Rosell
Zizzo - Dwyer - Sapong

Key Match Up - KC Defense vs Dallas Offense - With KC likely fielding at least a couple reserves tomorrow KC is going to need someone to step up defensively the way that Ellis did against Cruz Azul. Dallas has a lot of attacking options that could cause a lot of trouble for a tired KC back line.

Number to Remember - 2 - That's the number of losses that KC have in home openers in MLS history. Sporting is 11-2-5 in their first home game. They have not lost since a 3-2 loss to Toronto in 2009.

PREDICTION - A lot of fans already appear to be looking past this game and on towards Wednesday's match against Cruz Azul. But a loss here and KC does something that has only happened twice in their history, go winless in their first two games. Dallas is an improved team from last year and should provide a big challenge for KC. And while a loss isn't crippling, since it's against a Western Conference foe, dropping to 0-2 would be a bit of a confidence blow heading into the match up with Cruz Azul.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Sapong)
FCD - 1 (Diaz)

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