Saturday, July 11, 2015

Match Day 17: Back to Action

After a week off, Sporting KC is back on the field tomorrow night in Vancouver against the Whitecaps. It'll be the first game back at BC Place since the World Cup final last weekend between the US and Japan. KC will return to Vancouver after last year's 2-0 loss there that many point to as the point that the wheels really started to come off in last year's campaign for KC.

Vancouver currently sit in a three way tie for first place in the Western Conference on 32 points with Seattle and Dallas, five points clear of KC, but having played three more games than Sporting has played at this point of the season. The Whitecaps are returning home after spending the entire month of June on the road, playing five games with the women's World Cup going on. One big question for the Whitecaps will be whether Pedro Morales will be able to go. He's missed their last three league games for the Whitecaps. Vancouver has rolled on without their playmaker though as a number of other players have stepped up, including Kekuta Manneh, Cristian Techera, and David Ousted all playing key roles for the Whitecaps. They'll be looking to turn things around after losing in Colorado last weekend.

KC comes into the game having not played since their 6-2 US Open Cup win over Dallas back on July 1st. They've had plenty of time to thing about and prepare for this one. Sporting will be without their two Gold Cup participants, Marcel de Jong and Graham Zusi. They'll also be without Jalil Anibaba to play right back after he picked up a strain in practice and is now out for six weeks. The good news for KC is that Chance Myers is back to health and should be ready to start at the right back position tomorrow night. The rest of the team should be ready to go from the lineup that put six on Dallas a week and a half ago.

Myers - Ellis - Besler - Dia
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Peterson - Dwyer -Nemeth

Number to Remember - 5 - While Kansas City currently sit in 6th in the Western Conference, they have as many as five games in hand on the five teams in front of them. LA has played 5, Portland 4, Dallas and Vancouver 3, and Seattle 4.

Key Match Up - Benny Feilhaber vs Matias Laba - You can make a strong argument that Feilhaber is the MVP of MLS so far this season. Tomorrow night he'll be going up against one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS in Laba. Feilhaber has been huge for KC this year and they'll need him tomorrow, but this should be an entertaining match up to watch.

PREDICTION - Sporting is well rested and really should be coming into this game ready to go at someone other than their teammates. That said, Vancouver is a very good team, and they won't make things easy for KC, especially at home. Their home fans will be up for this game after a month without a home game, it'll be a tough atmosphere for KC to play in. While they'll be well rested the week and a half off almost seems like too much time and I'm worried about a flat KC side coming out tomorrow against Vancouver. With all that, I'd love to get out of Vancouver with a point.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
VAN - 2 (Techera, Rivero)

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