Friday, April 04, 2014

Match Day 5: MLS Cup Rematch

Just under four months since Sporting Kansas City raised the MLS Cup after beating Real Salt Lake in a shoot out, they'll welcome them back to Sporting Park Saturday. That game was just the continuation of what has become a bit of a rivalry between the two teams ever since a preseason game was ended early after a Roger Espinoza tackle caused the benches to clear. The two teams have had physical encounters ever since, with both sides trading comments off the field as well, with Salt Lake making claims of Sporting's dirty tactics, and Sporting responding with claims that Salt Lake doesn't play as beautiful as they claim.

Salt Lake is coming into the game after dismantling Toronto FC with a 3-0 win at home last weekend. Alvaro Saborio led the way for Salt Lake, scoring two goals against the previously unbeaten Reds. Salt Lake remains undefeated on the season, beating LA along with Toronto while drawing with San Jose and LA. They will have four players returning from national team duty at midweek, with three of those four starting against Mexico in Arizona. Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, and Tony Beltran all started for the USA, while Luis Gil was in camp but did not dress. Rimando played the full game while Beckerman and Beltran both played just over 70 minutes.

Meanwhile, Kansas City had two players travel to Arizona for the US vs Mexico game. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi both started for the USA and played just under an hour before subbing out of the game. Both will be available for selection in the game this weekend. Also available for selection, and likely to make his first appearance of the 2014 season, Chance Myers. He'd missed the team's first six games of the season with a groin strain. In that time though Kevin Ellis has filled in well, but getting KC's first choice rightback into the starting XI will be a big boost for Sporting going against RSL, if Myers is ready to start.

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

Number to Remember - 1 - That's how many more fouls that RSL (not KC) has committed than KC in regular season match ups between the two teams since 2009.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Nat Borchers - I expect after the goal that Dwyer scored on the weekend he will get the start tomorrow. But part of the lead up to this game has centered around Dwyer's quote that he doesn't like RSL and Borchers' response. And I'm not sure that Dwyer has forgotten this:

PREDICTION - This game isn't going to be pretty tomorrow, I expect a good number of fouls from both sides. With the number of fouls I also expect the game to be a tight affair and if there is a winner it's going to be decided by a single goal. I'm not sure there will be a winner though, I think the two will end up playing to a draw. There's not enough between the two sides to have a winner tomorrow in my opinion. RSL is playing very well to start the season right now to help offset KC's home field advantage.

SKC - 1 (Zusi)
RSL - 1 (Saborio)

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