Thursday, June 05, 2014

Match Day 15: Just Get to the Break Without Another Injury

It's been a less than ideal run up to the World Cup break for Sporting KC. Heading into the final game before the World Cup break, KC is on a five game winless run. Not only that but they've been doing it while having to put the back line together with duck tape losing not just Matt Besler to the US team, but already being without Ike Opara, and losing Aurelien Collin and Chance Myers to injury, Oriol Rosell to an injury and eventually a transfer, Lawrence Olum to a call up, and Erik Palmer-Brown for a game due to a red card. Now Igor Juliao is listed as questionable on the latest injury report with a quad injury. KC at least welcome Olum back to the team ahead of tomorrow's game.

The Dynamo may not be suffering the same way that KC is, but they too are missing some key components of their team tomorrow two. Two of their main creators, Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garca will both miss the game as they are both with their respective national teams That's a big blow that the Dynamo have felt at the offensive end of the field, they haven't scored a goal since their last game with Garcia, back on May 17th against the LA Galaxy. To be fair, that also is their last home game, but they haven't scored in their last three games against DC, San Jose, and Colorado. And Sunday in Colorado the Dynamo looked less than impressive.

The return of Olum is very good news for a KC team that has been hit hard. The question this week though has been where he would play. Would he slot into the middle of defense next to either Kevin Ellis or Erik Palmer-Brown, or would he settle in front of the defense playing the defensive midfield position, allowing Benny Feilhaber to move further up the field and be more of a part of the offense. KC's defense didn't look bad against DC United, but the offense struggled to really create chances. Getting Feilhaber moved further up the field is needed. His passing skills fill the gap left by Rosell, but he's too deep to really influence the offense. Of course if Juliao can't go tomorrow at right back, KC may be forced to put Olum in defense and slide Ellis out wide to fill the right back slot. Right now I'll expect Juliao to play, but who knows.

Juliao - Ellis - Palmer-Brown - Sinovic
Olum - Nagamura
Peterson - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Remember - 299 - That's Houston's goalless streak currently. They haven't scored in their last three games, and their last goal was in the 61st minute against the LA Galaxy by Giles Barnes.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs David Horst - While Houston's offense hasn't been scoring, their defense has been averaging 2 goals against a game in the current stretch. Dwyer was May's MLS player of the month, and he's still one of only two KC players with double digits in goals. KC's ability to score is really going to depend a lot on him.

PREDICTION - Neither one of these two teams is in good form, something that has not been common for these two teams over the past few years. With three of the more creative players on the two teams not available for the game, the offense in this game could really drag out. The question is whether one of these two teams will find the net tomorrow or not.

SKC - 0
HOU - 0

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