Thursday, August 28, 2014

Match Day 26 - Welcoming a Wounded Rival

Sporting KC welcomes the Houston Dynamo, a team that Kansas City knows quite well over the last few years. Since 2011, no two teams have met more in MLS than these two. Both teams are heading into tomorrow's game with their tail between their legs a bit. Both Sporting and the Dynamo come into the game having lost their last game 3-0. Sporting fell 3-0 at home to DC United, while the Dynamo fell to the Columbus Crew 3-0 in Columbus.

The Dynamo are not a strong road team, they've won just one game on the road all year, and sit with a 1-10-1 record and a -22 goal difference. Their lone win came back in May, a 4-1 win over Chivas USA on the road, they're 0-7 since that time away from BBVA. They've also struggled to score on the road, they've only scored two times in the seven games since their last road win, both came in the same game, a 4-2 loss to Toronto. They will have the always dangerous, Brad Davis available for the game on the left wing, and potentially going up against Igor Juliao could be a key area for the Dynamo if Juliao starts.

Sporting KC's defense has not been it's normal self, really for about a month now. The club hasn't gotten a shutout since their 1-0 win in Portland, the team's last game with Eric Kronberg in net. After last week's loss against DC, Peter Vermes was quite critical of the team's defense. The comments would seem to say that we'll see some changes in the defense for tomorrow's games. The question is where. Does Juliao sit as many fans have been calling for, in favor of Kevin Ellis. Does Aurelien Collin or Matt Besler sit with Ellis or Lawrence Olum slotting in for one of them? The one thing that does appear clear is that Jon Kempin will get a third straight league start in goal as Andy Gruenebaum is not quite ready to return from his injury.

Ellis - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Feilhaber - Zusi
Dovale - Dwyer - Saad

Number to Remember - 2009 - That's the last time that Sporting lost a home league game to the Dynamo. KC is 4-0-3 at home in league play since then. And it's not just that stretch, Kansas City has a decent home record recently against the Dynamo, since the loss in the 2011 playoffs, 2-0-3 at home against the Dynamo, and since the 2012 playoff loss on the road, KC is 3-0-2 against the Dynamo. So Vermes may have finally figured out Dominic Kinnear a bit.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Houston center backs - Houston's center backs have struggled this year with the departure of Bobby Boswell. They've platooned center backs with Jermaine Taylor, Eric Brunner, AJ Cochran, and David Horst. No matter which two of those four start, I like Dwyer's ability to get behind or past the pair.

PREDICTION - The Dynamo are a poor road team. No wins since May, only two goals in those seven losses since their last road win. This is a game that KC not only should win, but has to win if they expect to fight for the Supporters' Shield and the top of the East. This is the type of game, against an inferior opponent where you make a statement of intent. You show that Saturday night was a fluke and you beat the Dynamo.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer x2)
HOU - 0

No comments: