Friday, August 22, 2014

Match Day 25 - Top of the East

Sporting Kansas City head into another big league match up after a 1-1 midweek draw with Real Esteli. The game is the second in a row against teams in a top three team in the East. Last week Sporting KC topped Toronto FC. This week, Sporting KC welcome second place DC United. United sits just two points behind KC and also has a game in hand. A win would allow KC to go five clear of United.

United heads into tomorrow's game having played midweek as well. They were at home though, hosting Jamaican side, Waterhouse FC, winning 1-0. DC put out a reserve lineup at home and were able to get the win. That means that starters like Bobby Boswell, Davy Arnaud, and Fabian Espindola were rested ahead of this weekend's game. They've won three of their last five league games, but the three wins all came at home. On the road DC lost their two games in that stretch.

Kansas City, unlike United put out a number of first team players in their game against Real Esteli. Combine that with the return trip from Nicaragua could make for some tired legs by the end of the game Saturday. KC's injury issues look like they'll continue to a point, Jacob Peterson is listed as out on the injury report this week with a knee sprain. It looks like both Andy Gruenebaum and Paulo Nagamura will also miss the game. So Jon Kempin looks set for another start in goal. The question will be how KC sets up the rest of the field after the midweek game against Esteli.

Juliao - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Olum - Lopez
Zizzo - Dwyer - Zusi

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins that DC has in Kansas City since Sporting KC moved to Kansas. Since the start of the 2008 season when KC moved out to Community America Ballpark, Kansas City is 6-0-2 against DC, including a 4-0 record at Sporting Park. They've only allowed 1 goal in those 4 games.

Key Match Up - Matt Besler vs Fabian Espindola - Espindola beat KC with a curling shot/cross that fooled Eric Kronberg in DC. Espindola likes to drift out wide to receive the ball and come in. That's going to have to be a big thing for KC to watch out for tomorrow. He can cause KC all kinds of trouble.

PREDICTION - KC has just the one home loss at home this season, but has quite a few draws. DC has lost their last two games on the road, conceding four and not scoring one. KC needs to start shoring up the defense, which has not had a shutout since Kronberg went down with his broken hand. Stepping up in a big game against the team right behind you in the standings would be the perfect time to get the defense back in order. Unfortunately I'm not sure that happens. Espindola is the type of forward that causes KC trouble. But I don't think DC has enough offensively to top KC tomorrow.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Zusi)
DC - 1 (Espindola)

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