Friday, July 25, 2014

Match Day 21 - Looking for Five Straight on the Road

Sporting KC are back on the road and looking to continue their club record run on the road. Tomorrow night in Toronto, Sporting will be looking to grab their fifth straight win on the road. The four straight is already a club record, so they'll be looking to extend that tomorrow. The team is also on a six game unbeaten run, dating back to a 1-0 loss to DC United.

Toronto is coming into this game with a bit of a gap offensively. The Reds will be without their leading scorer, Jermain Defoe. The Englishman picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend and is now suspended for tomorrow's game due to accumulation. That will leave a hole offensively up top for TFC tomorrow to fill with the likes of Luke Moore and Gilberto. They will still have American midfielder, Michael Bradley, who did not play in the clubs midweek friendly against Spurs. That should have him rested and ready to go for the game.

Kansas City meanwhile rested one of their two World Cup veterans for Wednesday's friendly against Manchester City. Graham Zusi did not play a part in the game. Zusi should be rested for tomorrow's game. Slotting him back into the midfield would seem to be the way to go for tomorrow's game. The rest of the team should be fairly similar to the one that took the field against the BPL Champions. Paulo Nagamura is still out with an ankle injury, and Eric Kronberg is out with the break in his hand. Potential changes could see Toni Dovale back with the first team, or Jacob Peterson up top to provide the defensive cover that Peter Vermes enjoys when on the road. Jorge Claros could also make his competitive debut for the club.

Juliao - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Zusi - Feilhaber
Peterson - Dwyer - Saad

Number to Remember - 15 - That's the number of goals that number of goals scored by both teams outside their leading scorer. Kansas City has scored 29 goals this year, 14 of which have been from Dwyer. Defoe meanwhile has scored 11 of Toronto's 26 goals this year.

Key Match Up - Graham Zusi vs Michael Bradley - The two World Cup veterans are likely to see a lot of time together in the midfield. Although Benny Feilhaber will see just as much action with Bradley, the two World Cup veterans will be the one to watch.

PREDICTION - Toronto without Defoe is still a much improved side from last year. Bradley is going to be a handful for Kansas City in the middle of the field. KC's defense should be able to hand a Defoeless Toronto attack, the question will be whether KC can find the net at the other end. And while it's not something you'd expect people to say, a win by KC on the road against Toronto would be a good statement win for KC. Toronto is currently 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and has three games in hand on the East leading KC. I'm not sure that KC will get the full three tomorrow, but I do think they'll walk out with a point on the road.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
TFC - 1 (Moore)

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

Taking a different shade with the key matchup in the middle.

This is unironic. Warner is key guy for Toronto. He's played 90 in 8 of 9 games since traded there. It's not that he's the best player, it's that he's the "inflection" player.

If he's overrrun then Bradley will be forced deeper.

If he can hold his own then Bradley can playmake & destroy from higher up.

Preventing Toronto, who has by far the easiest remaining schedule of contenders, from getting 3 points is key.