Thursday, October 02, 2014

Match Day 31 - Needing to Right the League Form

Sporting Kansas City continues to have their league struggles in MLS play. Heading into tomorrow's game against DC United, Sporting has won just one of their last six and just two of their last eight and since their four game winning streak ended the team has picked up just seven of a possible 27 points. This stretch has led to Sporting sliding back towards the pack and has brought some questions regarding KC's potential playoff run.

DC United comes in on the verge of a playoff birth themselves. If United can pick up just a point they'll clinch a playoff spot. They've turned their team around from the one that finished at the bottom of the East last year. The likes of Fabian Espindola, Davy Arnaud, and Bobby Boswell have helped to shore up DC's spine and it shows with DC being a much more consistent team this year. One player from that spine that will be missing though is Perry Kitchen. The defensive midfielder is suspended for tomorrow night's game due to yellow card accumulation. That will be a bonus for KC as Kitchen has had himself a very good year.

Kansas City will welcome back Lawrence Olum after he returns from yellow card suspension. But Olum may not be slotting into his normal midfield position that he's played most of the season at. Instead he may well be slotting in at center back next to Matt Besler. This is because Aurelien Collin is still struggling with injury and is doubtful for tomorrow's game. Other than that change, I'd expect Sporting to come out with a lineup similar to the one that played against New England last Friday.

Juliao - Olum - Besler - Sinovic
Claros - Nagamura
Dovale - Dwyer - Zusi

Number to Remember - 2 - That's how many wins Sporting KC currently has against the other four teams in the East currently in the playoffs in the East. Those two wins are against one team, the Columbus Crew. Against the other three teams, KC is 0-6-1.

Key Match Up - Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola vs KC back line - Espindola and Silva have both been a handful for opposing defenses. The two have combined for 20 goals this year between the two of them. They aren't physically imposing attackers, but their style of play will cause issues for KC's back line.

PREDICTION - A few weeks ago DC came into Sporting Park and stomped KC 3-0. Sporting played better last week against New England than they did in that game. The question is whether KC can take it a step further and pick up a win against the team at the top of the East. It would also put KC in a better position playoff wise and probably restore some confidence in the team that has been lost over the past two months. Against a DC team that is playing well lately though, especialy at home where they haven't dropped a point since June.

SKC - 0
DC - 2 (Espindola, Silva)

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