Friday, October 17, 2014

Match Day 33 - Final Road Trip

KC is heading down the final stretch of the season and head into their final road game of the season a little short. The team is short on players as the injury bug has hit again. They travel to Philadelphia for the final road trip of the regular season looking to improve their chances of avoiding the wild card game.

Sporting will play a Philadelphia team that has been eliminated from the playoff race. The Union fell out of competition after allowing three goals in a five minute period against the Columbus Crew to go from a 2-0 lead to a 3-2 deficit. After a crushing defeat it could be hard for the Union to pick themselves back up, it wouldn't be the first time a game like that has seen a team collapse. A question could be asked of the Union of whether they'll give some of the team's younger players a chance to get game time tomorrow. Coach Jim Curtin has said he'd put his best team on the field though, but we'll see if that see's some of the younger talent or not with Curtin apparently still trying to get the permanent head coaching position.

With only two more games left in the Sporting KC season, the injury bug has returned to Kansas City with a vengence. Matt Besler returned from national team duty with a thigh contusion and didn't even travel to Philadelphia, Andy Gruenebaum picked up an injury in practice and he's now questionable for the game. Then there's Claudio Bieler and CJ Sapong who are both questionable as well with injuries. The team is running out of bodies to even use in practice at this point. Aurelien Collin may finally return from his ankle injury which would be a boost for KC. All the injuries will play a role, along with a busy final week of the regular season, which will see KC travel to Costa Rica for a game on Thursday in the CONCACAF Champions League before heading home the season finale against New York.

Juliao - Collin - Ellis - Sinovic
Olum - Nagamura
Zusi - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Remember - 2 - The number of games left for Sporting this season. It's also the number of points that separate Sporting from fourth place New York. With Sporting playing the Red Bulls the final week of the season KC needs a win and dropped points on New York and Columbus' side to lock up a top three finish.

Key Match Up - Aurelien Collin vs Conor Casey - This is one of those matches that is just fun to watch. Two physical players facing off against each other. It's not Collin vs Steven Lenhart level, but it'll be a physical one.

PREDICTION - This is a real hard one to predict. Kansas City's injury issues combined with the Union's playoff elimination leave a lot of questions regarding both teams' lineups. A win would be huge for Kansas City, a much needed result that would secure at least fourth place and go a long way towards clinching a top three spot. The Union though have seemed to have had Kansas City's number this year, picking up a win and a draw on the road against KC. While KC was successful on the road last year in Philadelphia, I'm not sure KC gets a win this time.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
PHI - 1 (Le Toux)

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