Friday, May 30, 2014

Match Day 14: Can We Skip May Next Year?

Every year Sporting KC should just skip the month of May. Since Peter Vermes has taken over the team, KC has just three wins in the month of May. KC is 5-11-7 in the month of May since Vermes took charge, and two of those five wins have come this year against Columbus (2-0) and Montreal (3-0). KC's struggles this year have a lot to do with their defensive issues with losing Matt Besler and Lawrence Olum to international call ups as the same time that Aurelien Collin went down with a hamstring injury. He was back for Tuesday's game against the New York Red Bulls. And this will also be the last game without Lawrence Olum. So KC's issues may slowly be resolving themselves.

Tomorrow's opponent DC got a midweek boost when the red card that Eddie Johnson received last week against the New England Revolution was rescinded. The former KC Wizard and US national team snub will be available for selection by Ben Olsen tomorrow. Against KC's still makeshift back line, combined with Fabian Espindola, the DC offense has to be excited for this match up tomorrow. United also now has one of KC fans' "favorite" players, after his crawling act a few years ago while a member of the Chicago Fire. Chris Rolfe has also been a paint for KC through the years with the Fire.

While KC is still far from 100%, they've done a good job of holding things together as best they can. While the team hasn't gotten a win since the injury and call up issues started, they haven't been beaten into submission. Most teams by the team they were on their eighth and ninth string center backs would be leaking in a number of goals. And while by KC's standard, the number is higher than normal, the team has done well to maintain a good position in the league to make a run when more players return. At this point though, it's time to start to get some wins again. The current four game winless run is the longest since a 0-3-1 run in 2012. One more winless game would be the club's longest since their 10 game league winless run in 2011 when KC had the long road trip before the opening of Sporting Park. On the field there's not much to change from the lineup that took the field against the Red Bulls, maybe insert Jacob Peterson on one wing to provide more defensive cover on the road. Other than that the only change I'd make is if Oriol Rosell is healthy enough to return.

Juliao - Ellis - Collin - Sinovic
Feilhaber - Nagamura
Peterson - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Remember - 2 - That's the number of goals in the last eight not scored by Dom Dwyer. It's great to finally see a KC forward in some really fantastic form, but KC also needs to start getting production from elsewhere. Dwyer has still scored over half the team's regular season goals, and the team's second leading scorer is Aurelien Collin with two.

Key Match Up - KC's defense vs Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola - Once again many questions will be asked of Sporting KC's defense tomorrow as they face another formidable strike force in Johnson and Espindola. While Johnson only has one goal this year, his history in the league is one that can't be discounted. Espindola as well has a good scoring record in his history in the league.

PREDICTION - May can't end soon enough. KC's not had a good month. The team also can't get to the World Cup break soon enough. DC's been on hard times recently, but they're a better team than they were last year by far. It only took one mistake against New York to be punished and Johnson or Espindola are also capable of pouncing on those mistakes. With the partnership of Collin and Ellis, it'd allow Ellis to drift some with Espindola (while he'd also need to rely on Juliao when Espindola drifts wide) while Collin deals with Johnson in the middle. KC's offense should be able to find space, hopefully Dwyer's form stays high.

SKC -1 (Dwyer)
DC - 2 (Johnson, Rolfe)

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