Thursday, July 31, 2014

Match Day 22 - More Lineup Changes

Through 21 games this season, Sporting KC has played 21 different lineups. And heading into tomorrow's game against the Philadelphia Union, Sporting looks set to field it's 22nd different league lineup. Due to schedule congestion, injuries, call ups, suspensions, and everything else, KC has been unable to field a consistent lineup this season.

Philadelphia comes into the game in a transitional period. Earlier this week, the team announced the signing of Algeria's World Cup veteran, Rais Mbolhi to be the team's new starting goalkeeper. An odd timing for the move as they have Zac MacMath and first round pick, Andre Blake currently on their roster. Yes getting a player like Mbolhi is a solid move, but there were other areas that they could have upgraded. Current starter, MacMath is set to start for the Union tomorrow against KC, but it could be his final one for a while if Mbolhi is ready to go next week. Where MacMath's head is out heading into the game will be a big part of tomorrow's game. If he's already resigned himself to being a back up and departing Philly it could be a long night for the Union. He could also see it as an opportunity to be in the "shop window" and play lights out (which seems to happen more than it should against KC). Elsewhere on the field, Conor Casey has been a handful for opposing defenses, especially as of late and he'll be a big one for Aurelien Collin in KC's defense.

KC's defense will again have a makeshift feel to it tomorrow. With the suspension of Matt Besler, and Seth Sinovic doubtful with an injury, KC will again be shuffling the back line. Kevin Ellis is likely to fill one of those two positions. If Ellis is at centerback, then Jacob Peterson would seem to be the most likely one to replace Sinovic at left back having played right back against Houston and Manchester City. Other options at left back would include Sal Zizzo or Toni Dovale, both of whom have spent time as a wingback. The other possibility is that Ellis slots into Sinovic's left back position. If that happens, 17 year old Erik Palmer-Brown could get another start in the center of KC's defense. The other area KC has to replace, is the defensive midfield position right in front of the center backs. Filled recently by Lawrence Olum, he's on international duty now, so Jorge Claros could make his competitive debut for the club. If he doesn't start, slotting Benny Feilhaber back there as he has earlier this year would be expected. Lots of questions for KC's back four and midfield heading into tomorrow's game.

Juliao - Collin - Ellis - Peterson
Claros - Lopez
Zusi - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Rememer - 4 - That's the number of 2-1 wins hat KC has had in a row heading into tomorrow's game. Wins over Montreal, Columbus, and Toronto on the road, plus a win over LA at home by the same scoreline.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Maurice Edu - The US international has slotted back into defense for the Union at this time and will be needed to shut down Dwyer. KC's leading scorer has been held scoreless in their last three league games, since his third brace of the season against the Impact. It's been good in a way for KC though, as other players have found net and now KC has more than two players with more than a single goal.

PREDICTION - Both teams come in on an unbeaten run, KC at seven games unbeaten in league play, Philadelphia unbeaten in four. Philadelphia was off last weekend, instead playing Crystal Palace in a friendly so they may be a little fresher heading into the game. For Kansas City, that 2-1 loss to the Union at home earlier this season has to be something that is in the player's mind, it's the second time in as many seasons that the Union have come to KC and grabbed all three points. That's something that I'm sure Vermes has pointed out this week. This is a game that KC should be able to win, even with their back line the way it is, they should have enough firepower up front to win.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Feilhaber)
PHI - 1 (Le Toux)

1 comment:

hartley said...

Has there been any word on EPB? I know he's been injured, but if he is healthy my lineup would be:

Juliao, Collin, EPB, Ellis
Claros, Benny
CJ, Dwyer, Saad

Bench: Kempin, Peterson, Zizzo, Lopez, Dovale, Bieler, Steuble