Friday, May 15, 2015

Match Day 11: A Game KC Should Have

Sporting KC welcome the Colorado Rapids to Kansas City for the first time in two years this weekend when the two renew a rivalry that is the most played across all competitions for Kansas City. Tomorrow's game will be the 67th time in all competitions that KC and Colorado have faced off against each other.

The Rapids come into the game having gone five games without a win, they've drawn their last four games, all by a 1-1 score line, and before that, fell 3-1 to Colorado. The last year or so for the Rapids has been a struggle though for Pablo Mastroeni, as they've won just one of their last 24 league matches, a 4-0 over Dallas earlier this year. Before that, the Rapids had not won a game since July of 2014 when they beat Chivas USA. They are 1-14-9 in that stretch, with seven of those draws coming in their 10 games this season. Even with that record though, Dillon Powers could cause plenty of trouble for KC's midfield and Gabriel Torres and recently acquired forward, Luis Solignac could cause trouble for KC's back line.

For KC, they're going to have to make some lineup adjustments from last week's game against DC. The biggest of those is Graham Zusi who is out this week after suffering a concussion in last week's draw with DC. His logical replacement would be Krisztian Nemeth coming back into the starting 11 after starting the DC game on the bench. On the other wing, Jacob Peterson could keep his spot, or Peter Vermes could opt for a more offense inserting someone like Jimmy Medranda. On defense, it looks like U20 international, Erik Palmer-Brown will get another start at center back, as he delayed joining the US U20 team for training ahead of the U20 World Cup to stay in KC for this game. There is a last minute worry with a report that Roger Espinoza picked up a knock in training, if he can go, KC's midfield looks a lot thinner and Servando Carrasco would seem likely to come into the lineup with Paulo Nagamura also questionable.

Anibaba - EPB - Besler - Sinovic
Feilhaber - Espinoza
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 1 - I already mentioned that Colorado has just one win in their last 24 MLS games. On top of that, Colorado has just one win in KC since 2002. That one win was in a US Open Cup qualifier back in 2010. KC is 10-1-5 at home against the Rapids in that stretch. It's also the number of league losses that KC has at home against the Rapids since the end of the shootout after the 1999 season, that one loss came in 2002.

Key Match Up - Dom Dwyer vs Axel Sjoberg - Despite Dwyer's lack of size, KC has relied a lot on the long ball over the top to the Englishman to attempt to hold up. With the 6'7" Swede in central defense for Colorado tomorrow, that's going to be an even tougher task for Dwyer to deal with.

PREDICTION - With the schedule really picking up for Kansas City after this with games against New England, Dallas, two against Seattle, and an Open Cup game, likely against Minnesota United, this is a chance for KC to pick up points at home against an inferior opponent. While Colorado is unbeaten on the road, it's true, KC is the better team than Colorado, especially at home. The question is whether KC can find the scoring to prove it in the scoreline. Unfortunately I'm not really sure they do, and Colorado plays to their fifth straight draw.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
CO - 1 (Torres)

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