Monday, May 26, 2014

Match Day 13: Who Needs a Center Back Part 3: Back in Training

There may finally be an end in sight to the current center back crisis for Kansas City. Even though Sporting added another name to the long list of center back injuries, Aurelien Collin was back in training today with an eye towards playing tomorrow against the New York Red Bulls. Collin's return along with Erik Palmer-Brown's return from red card suspension actually gives them two available center backs, which they haven't had since the loss to Philadelphia. The team could also welcome back another center back option, Oriol Rosell who has missed the last two games with a quad strain.

New York heads into tomorrow night's game on a losing streak. The Red Bulls fell on Saturday night at home to the Portland Timbers 2-1, their third loss in a row and second straight at home. Before that they'd lost in Toronto 2-0 and a barnburner 5-4 at home to Chicago. The Red Bulls have the league's joint leading scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied Dom Dwyer on Saturday with a penalty kick in the lost to the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls will be without one of their two designated players tomorrow as Tim Cahill has left to join Australia ahead of the World Cup. They'll still have Thierry Henry who is second in both goals and assists for the club at this point.

Getting Collin back would be a huge boost for Sporting, it would certainly take some pressure off of whoever it is that partners him at center back. Whether it's Kevin Ellis, who partnered Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic in KC's 2-2 draw with Toronto, Palmer-Brown, who returns from his red card suspension, or Rosell, who has also missed the last two games with an injury. One thing that KC doesn't appear to have to worry about is forward, where Dom Dwyer continues to find the net and now is tied for the league lead in goals scored. One thing about that that does concern me though is the lack of goals from elsewhere. Dwyer has scored 10 of KC's 18 goals, 6 of the last 7 and 8 of the last 11. The team's second leading scorer is Collin with just two. KC is going to need production from other players as well if KC is going to continue to be successul.

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of goals that Thierry Henry has scored against KC. He has picked up more red cards (1) and delayed suspensions (1) than he has goals against Sporting.

Key Match Up - KC defense vs Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips - While KC's issues in central defense appear to be getting a little better, it's not going to be an easy go of it tomorrow against the league's joint leading scorer and the ever dangerous Henry on the field. If Collin plays, no matter who partners him in central defense a lot of the leadership responsibilities will fall on the Frenchman's shoulders tomorrow.

PREDICITON - Last season's Supporters' Shield winner and last season's MLS Cup champions have picked up a combined 1 point in their last 3 games each. Not the level you'd expect from either one of those two teams. With the league's top two leading scorers going at it, one would assume that there will be plenty of space to find in each team's back line for the two teams. Add in a goal scorer like Henry still lurking there and there are a number of concerns still for Sporting defensively. On the other hand, the Red Bulls have shown that they struggle to stop other teams from scoring, having allowed 21 goals already this season. I'm just not sure that either team is going to be able to end their winless runs tomorrow.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
NY - 1 (Henry)

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