Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Match Day 27 - Trying to Right the Ship

Sporting Kansas City head on the road for the beginning of a three game road trip, starting tomorrow night in New England. Kansas City will be looking to end their two game winless run after allowing six goals in their last two games, both at home. The hope has to be that going on the road where KC is 8-5-4 this year will help Kansas City to right the ship.

Unfortunately KC has to do it in New England against a Revolution side that is starting to find some form. The Revs come into the game having won their last two games, including a 3-0 win on the road last weekend against a struggling Toronto FC side.  They recently welcomed US international, Jermaine Jones to the team, winning the "blind draw" with the Chicago Fire for the services of the World Cup veteran. He came on as a substitute against TFC, but with Scott Caldwell suspended due to yellow card accumulation could see his first start on Wednesday.

Kansas City has some suspensions of their own to deal, both bigger than New England missing Caldwell. Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber both will have to miss Wednesday's game due to yellow card accumulation from cards picked up in the loss to Houston. Replacing those two will be a hard task, as the two combined have scored 20 of KC's 37 goals this year and have been a part of 25 of those 37 goals. Replacing both of them will be extremely tough. Claudio Bieler could finally come out of the wasteland and get his first league start since Chicago on May 18th in replacing Dwyer. Replacing Feilhaber will be different. Graham Zusi dropping back into midfield again seems to be the likely way to fill Feilhaber's role. That leads KC to inserting the likes of Soony Saad, Sal Zizzo, or Toni Dovale in the wing position. Another question would be how KC lines up behind Zusi in the midfield. Lawrence Olum had a poor game against the Dynamo, and Peter Vermes could replace him with Jorge Claros, or he could play both players in midfield to give KC a bit more help defensively against the Revolution. Another option would be to insert Mikey Lopez or let Martin Steuble get his second start. Then there's the goalkeeper question, where Andy Gruenebaum is nearing his return, but is he fit enough to play. The questions are all over the field for KC.

Ellis - Collin - Besler - Sinovic
Claros - Olum
Sapong - Bieler - Saad

Number to Remember - 8 - That's the number of wins that KC has on the road at Gillette Stadium against the Revolution. The only other away location that KC has more wins is Columbus Crew Stadium, where KC has played four more games than the 18 KC has played at Gillette.

Key Match Up - Claudio Bieler vs Jose Goncalves - There will be a lot of pressure on Bieler to produce in the absence of Dwyer. The DP needs to live up to that expectation, and he really hasn't since Kei Kamara returned from his loan at Norwich. He has a chance tomorrow to at least give KC another option in place of Dwyer up top.

PREDICTION - The two teams are going in opposite directions, KC picked up just four points in the month of August this year. The Revolution have only picked up seven, but those seven points have come in their last three games. In that time the Revs have jumped to third place in the East and sit nine points behind KC. I'm not sure that KC can keep the Revolution from closing that gap further without the likes of Dwyer and Feilhaber on the field for KC. And the defense has looked like a far cry from the one that even started this season. They've gone 10 games now without a shutout, the longest stretch since an 11 game stretch in 2010-2011, which included all but the final game of KC's road trip to start the 2011 season. I just can't see KC ending their losing streak tomorrow.

SKC - 0
NE - 2 (Bunbury, Fagundez)

1 comment:

aletheist said...

One correction--SKC is 7-5-0 on the road this season; they were 8-5-4 last year.