Saturday, July 05, 2014

Match Day 17 - Sporting KC Hit Mid-Season Point

The mid-point of this year's MLS season is hit tomorrow for Sporting KC when they take on the Chicago Fire at Sporting Park. It's been an odd first half of the season for KC, seeing them deal with a number of absences through different means, from call ups, to transfers, to injuries, KC has has had to deal with a number of issues through the first half of the season. Now with that starting to ease a bit, Sporting KC is still in a good position, sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Chicago Fire come into tomorrow's game after a mid-week game against Toronto FC where the Fire picked up a point in a 1-1 draw. It wasn't a great performance from the Fire as they spent a little over an hour up a man but could only manage a draw against TFC. The Fire are also going through some attacking option issues. Quincy Amarikwa picked up a yellow card against Toronto and will now miss tomorrow's game due to yellow card accumulation. The Fire also this week announced that Juan Luis Anangono would be going on loan to LDU Quito for the rest of the season. That leaves the Fire with Mike Magee and recently signed Matthew Fondy as the only true forwards available for tomorrow's game.

Kansas City is still going to be short handed tomorrow with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi not available for tomorrow's game, but the team continues to get healthier. Benny Feilhaber should be available for tomorrow's game after missing time after the shoulder injury he picked up against Houston. The team does still have a bit of a gap having waived Alex Martinez earlier this week, and with Toni Dovale suspended still from his violent conduct red card, Sporting may not have 18 player available for tomorrow's game.

The big question for Kansas City is whether Sporting's two World Cup veterans, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi will play a role. So far MLS World Cup players, Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Brad Davis, and Michael Bradley have all played for their club team after returning from Brazil. Only one of those four though, Bradley, played a role in the USA's game against Belgium. While having them available tomorrow would be a boost for KC, Sporting's depth should be capable enough to allow them to rest.

Juliao - Collin - Ellis - Sinovic
Olum - Nagamura
Zizzo - Dwyer - Saad

Number to Remember - 23 - That's how many points Kansas City had heading into their 17 game of the season last year, when the team finished second in the Supporters' Shield race. So while a number of fans are frustrated with the way the team has played, the team is ahead of the pace they were on last year.

Key Match Up - Igor Juliao vs Harry Shipp - Shipp, the Chicago home grown talent is the leader for rookie of the year and has been very good for the Fire this year, he's the team's leading scorer with six goals and will prove to be a hand full for KC on their right side. The main responsibility for him is likely to fall on the shoulders of the Brazilian teenager, a tough ask for him early in his time with KC.

PREDICTION - Sporting KC pulled off a big win last week in Portland to put them back on top of the Eastern Conference. They return home to take on a Chicago Fire team that has been a bogey team since the team was founded in 1998. The last few years with Frank Klopas in charge the Fire have come into Sporting Park and played to limit KC's chances leading to a number of scoreless draws. With the change in coach to Frank Yallop, we'll have to see how he has the Fire play at Sporting Park tomorrow. With the expected temperature tomorrow being in the 90's I'd expect a slow game to come out at Sporting Park with the odd goal deciding the game.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
CHI - 0

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lim koh said...
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