Friday, September 05, 2014

Match Day 28 - Trying to End the Streak

Sporting Kansas City's losing streak reached three games against New England on Wednesday, and they won't get time to dwell on it either, because tomorrow KC will face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bulls Arena. KC has had a string of bad performances dating all the way back to the friendly loss to Manchester City. While KC has picked up wins in that stretch (both against Toronto) they've been far from convincing in those games.

New York hasn't been very good themselves lately. Last year's Supporters' Shield winners have fallen to 7th place in the Eastern Conference, but they're only two points outside a playoff spot. They have the league's leading scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, who currently has 20 goals on the season, three more than KC's leading scorer, Dom Dwyer. He's been helped out by Thierry Henry who has provided 11 assists this year for the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls will be without one of their two DPs tomorrow though, Tim Cahill is going to miss tomorrow's game as he'll be on international duty with Australia. They'll also be missing defender, Ambroise Oyongo, who is also on international duty. All of Oyongo's 10 appearances have come in New York's last 10 games, he's started nine of them, so both absences will be felt by New York.

Another different lineup from Kansas City in New England didn't change KC's issues getting results. Heading into New York the question is what changes Peter Vermes will make ahead of that game. Two changes expected to be made would be the re-insertion of Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber, who both return from their suspensions due to yellow card accumulation. With another three goals conceded against New England though one has to assume Vermes will look to make changes to the defense again. After the loss Wednesday, Vermes would not confirm whether Aurelien Collin would return tomorrow, making comments about his form. So we could see Lawrence Olum slot in at center back tomorrow. Of the two I personally feel Olum's form has been worse recently, and he should be the one sitting, but Vermes does not seem to agree.

Ellis - Olum - Besler - Sinovic
Claros - Steuble
Dovale - Dwyer - Zusi

Number to Remember - 11 - That's the number of games Kansas City has gone without a shutout. The team's last shutout, was against Portland back on June 27th. That's the longest stretch that Kansas City has gone without a shutout in the Peter Vermes era. The last time KC went this long, was a 13 game streak without a shutout in 2007.

Key Match Up - KC Defense vs Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips - The league's leading scorer and third place in assists goes against a defense that has allowed nine goals in three games. Those two have to be licking their chops at this prospect. The KC defense will need to get their act together quickly.

PREDICTION - You have two forwards in very good form going against a back line completely out of form. This has the set up for another game to be a disaster for Sporting's back line. At this point it's really hard to pinpoint the root cause. Is it all the injuries and changes starting to catch up on KC? Players that weren't expected to play this many minutes (Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Olum) this year starting to hit a wall? Either way KC needs to try to find a way to break this current streak. Unfortunately I'm not sure it happens tomorrow. New York has just two losses at home this season and have been playing well there. I just don't see it with the way that the defense is playing right now.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
NYRB - 2 (Wright-Phillips, Henry)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Nice prediction so far.