Friday, May 09, 2014

Match Day 9: The Hectic Schedule Commences

After a quiet April, Sporting really get busy now in the month of May before the World Cup in June. Tomorrow's game in Montreal is the start of a six game stretch in 21 days. Basically the team will play two games a week for the rest of the month. They'll have to do most of that stretch without Matt Besler and Graham Zusi who will both leave after Wednesday's game against Philadelphia to join the US national team.

Montreal is in a bit of a busy stretch themselves on two fronts. This past Wednesday, the Impact began the defense of the Amway Canadian Championship in Edmonton against NASL side, FC Edmonton. The Impact, playing a young lineup with a number of reserves ended up falling tot he lower division side, 2-1 in the first leg. The two teams meet against this coming Wednesday. So if Montreal wants a chance to get back into the Champions League this year, they'll need to overturn that deficit. Meanwhile they're trying to get their league season back on course as they sit in 9th place in the Eastern Conference on six points with a 1-4-3 record. So far they've been lacking production up top from Marco Di Vaio who led the team in scoring last year.

Kansas City on the other hand sits at the other end of the table, currently on 14 points, at the top of the Eastern Conference. The team will welcome back Aurelien Collin after he missed last weekend's win over Columbus due to suspension. While KC has one of the best defensive records in the league so far this season, they've struggled so far on the road. In their last three road games in all competitions, KC's defense has allowed a grand total of nine goals in those games. Of course those games so far have been against better teams than the Impact team that KC is playing tomorrow. This is one of the last times Peter Vermes will have his full roster to choose from, but with the number of games coming there could be some rotation.

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

Number to Remember - 1 - Just one win so far this season for the Impact, they and head coach Frank Klopas have to be getting close to desperate times now. There's still plenty of time in the season but they don't want to fall too far behind the chance already. Especially with how their older legs fell off at the end of last season. They'll need to pick it up if they want to get back to the pace they were on last year.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Marco Di Vaio - The Italian has scored just one goal so far this season for the Impact. They'll need him to pick up his scoring efforts if they're going to be successful. But Di Vaio has yet to score against KC since he joined the league. Even with him staying right on the last defender, either good recovery defense or good goalkeeping as kept him off the board. Once again, Collin will likely be the man tasked with keeping an eye on him.

PREDICTION - With the way that Montreal played in KC earlier this season, there's certainly the potential for KC to look past this game a bit. But really Sporting can't. The Impact for their troubles are an experienced team that will punish KC multiple times if they come in complacent. Really though this is a game that KC should win, even on the road. They're the better team and should be able to put away the Impact even on their home field.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Collin)
MTL - 1 (McInerney)

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