Friday, May 08, 2015

Match Day 10: Sporting visit DC United

For the first time since MLS Cup 2004, Sporting KC and DC United will meet tomorrow without being in the same conference. KC plays another former conference rival this week traveling to DC to take on DC United. Before tonight's MLS game between Orlando and New England, DC was sitting tied with New England atop the Eastern Conference with 17 points.

DC has not lost a game at RFK since June of last year when they lost 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders. They've gone 16 unbeaten in all competitions, including last week when they picked up an impressive 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew. On the season, DC has lost just once, in the second week of the season to New York. Since then, DC has gone six games without a loss, winning four of them. Now DC has forward Fabian Espindola back and he'll provide plenty of issues for KC's back line with his pace. He showed that last week as he was able to get behind the Crew back line a few times. The defense has been doing quite well at the same time, whether Bill Hamid has been in net or not as they've allowed a league low six goals.

KC meanwhile ended a three game winless run with their 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire last week. KC had plenty of decent chances in the game but were unable to find the net more than the one time. The defense looked better, but they'll be facing a better attack in United than the Fire provided. The big question of the week is whether goalkeeper Tim Melia will retain his starting spot from last week or not. Peter Vermes had said Luis Marin had sat because he needed a mental break, but with the way Melia played Vermes will be hard pressed to sit him. Other than that the only other potential change I could see is Vermes handing a start to Paulo Nagamura who won the game for KC, potentially giving Roger Espinoza a break for a week. Seth Sinovic struggled on the left wing against the Fire, but with Marcel de Jong likely out, Sinovic seems likely to start again at left back.

Anibaba - Ellis - Besler - Sinovic
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Zusi - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 353 - That's how many minutes that KC has gone without a goal against DC. United shut KC out in all three games the teams have played last year. The last goal scored by KC was Dom Dwyer in the 7th minute in KC's 1-0 win in October of 2013.

Key Match Up - Kevin Ellis vs Fabian Espindola - The DC forward is going to try to get himself isolated against the less experienced of KC's two center backs. If he can, Espindola could cause KC a ton of problems. Matt Besler and Jalil Anibaba are going to need to watch the match up and pinch in to help Ellis out.

PREDICTION - Honestly I just think that DC is too good for KC at this point. Their team is playing well on both sides of the ball right now, Espinodola and Chris Rolfe are causing issues for opposing back lines, and the defense has been solid even without Steve Birnbaum out of the line up. KC has just struggled with inconsistencies on both sides of the ball too much in the early part of this season to walk out with any points in this game.

SKC - 0
DC - 2 (Espindola x2)

1 comment:

hartley said...

Yeah, I'm thinking worst case scenario here.

Espindola runs our defense in circles. The rest of the DC squad owns the field. Hamid stones us. We don't even get a sniff. PV even goes so far as to pull Dwyer off after 65 and let Nemeth play center forward.

DC 3 - 0 SKC