Thursday, June 26, 2014

Game Day 16: Sporting Take on Portland: Take 2

Tuesday is a night that Sporting KC would really rather forget. They lost 3-1 to the Portland Timbers and bowed out of the US Open Cup. KC though will have to relive that tomorrow when they'll take on the Timbers in Portland. On the other hand they'll get an immediate opportunity for payback against the Timbers.

Portland played only a few starters in their game on Tuesday night in Kansas City, meaning those player will be well rested for tomorrow's game in Portland. The likes of Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe played no roll in the Timbers win in KC. They're likely to have a role to play come tomorrow though.  The Timbers have had trouble picking up wins at home this year though and that's something KC will need to take advantage of.

While Portland rested players on Tuesday, with all of KC's issues with injuries, the lineup that appeared in the Open Cup is likely to be the same one that plays against Portland save a few changes. The one that is forced on KC is Toni Doavle, who is suspended for this game after his red card against Houston in the final game before the World Cup break. Another change is extremely likely, Eric Kronberg returning to the starting 11 in place of Andy Gruenebaum. Really the only other question is whether Igor Juliao returns to the starting 11, and who he returns for (Kevin Ellis or Erik Palmer-Brown, and pushing Ellis into the center back position). There really aren't many other options for KC at this point with their roster.

Juliao - Collin - EPB - Sinovic
Olum - Nagamura
Peterson - Dwyer - Saad

Number to remember - 7 - That's how many draws the Timbers have at home this season. They only have one win and one draw in league play to go with the seven ties.

Key Match Up - Igor Juliao vs Darlington Nagbe - Nagbe is a special talent and a handful for any defender. He's going to spend a lot of time matched up against KC's right back. And whether that's Juliao or Ellis, they're going to have their hands full. I'd say they'd need more help from Aurelien Collin but I think he's really going to have to be the one that attempts to contain Fanendo Adi, who is going to be a handful.

PREDICTION - A team mainly made up of reserves took care of business against Sporting's current first team on Tuesday night. I have faith in Peter Vermes to make corrections to the way the team plays to help to offset that play. The question is whether that change will be enough to allow KC to get a point or three Friday. Right now I'm just now sure after the way the team played Tuesday.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
POR - 2 (Johnson, Adi)

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