Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Match Day CCL - Headed to The Monster's Cave

It's all come down to this for Sporting KC in the Champions League. They are in Costa Rica headed into the Monster's Cave for the final game of Group 2. Sporting has a number of ways to advance. KC needs a win, a draw, a one goal loss, or a two goal loss where the team scores at least two goals. A 3-1 loss would see the teams go to the eighth tie breaker, draw of lots. A 2-0 loss or a loss by more than two goals and Kansas City is done.

Since Kansas City last played Saprissa, the club has gone through some changes. The club's head coach, Ronald Gonzalez was fired by the club and replayed by sports director and former player, Jeustin Campos. Saprissa lost Campos' first game in charge, but since then, the club has rattled off five straight wins. They certainly look confident heading into the final group stage game.

Kansas City on the other hand is not having the best run of form. The injuries and fatigue has finally caught up with Sporting it'd appear. Sporting has as many wins in the CCL since the start of September (2 in 2 games) as they do in league play (2 in 7 games). And they'll head into tomorrow's game without at least two of their designated players as Matt Besler is still recovering from his thigh contusion and Graham Zusi is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. With another important league match on Sunday and KC's limited options on the field, KC is going to be struggling through these final two games.

Juliao - Collin - Ellis - Sinovic
Olum - Lopez
Sapong - Dwyer - Dovale

Number to Remember - 2 - This is actually the second time that Kansas City has made a trip to the Monster's Cave. Back in 2005, the then Wizards had drawn 0-0 at Arrowhead before heading to Costa Rica. The Wizards took the lead in the second half through Jose Burciaga but gave up a late equalizer. At the time there was no away goals rule so the game went to extra time where KC gave up a second goal and lost 2-1 in the series. Kerry Zavagnin is the only member of the technical staff that was on the team at that time.

Key Match Up
- Kansas City vs the Monster's Cave - Estadio Saprisa is an incredibly intimidating atmosphere. There's a reason after the US beat Costa Rica in a snow storm in Denver that the Costa Rican FA tried to get the return qualifier moved to the stadium. The fans are right on top of the field and their main supporters group, Ultra Morada will be in the stands for the game after reports originally were that they would be banned from the stadium. So it's going to likely be a crazy atmosphere tomorrow for KC to deal with, probably one of the more intense ones most of KC's players have ever seen.

PREDICTION - This is going to be an extremely difficult game for KC. Saprissa is playing well right now and with the home field advantage will be extremely tough to beat at home. With the way that Kansas City is playing right now I'm not sure that this team will get the result that they need to go through.

SKC - 0
SAP - 3 (Rodriguez x2, Ramirez)

No comments: