Friday, July 31, 2015

Match Day 20: A Busy Month Starts

Sporting Kansas City starts a busy month of August tomorrow at Sporting Park when they take on the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park. KC play seven games this month, but the good news is that four of those seven games are at home, including three straight. In the stretch is also the club's US Open Cup semifinal against Real Salt Lake. With KC having played between one and four games fewer than the other teams in the Western Conference this will be a month that could make or break the season for KC. With teams in front of them like LA and Vancouver involved in the CONCACAF Champions League, KC has a chance to make a move. That starts tomorrow against the Dynamo.

The Dynamo come into the weekend game playing KC for the second time in a little over a week. After losing 3-1 to KC in the US Open Cup, Houston returned home to take out the LA Galaxy with a 3-0 win. While their designated player Erick Torres has only been coming off the bench, Will Bruin continues to find the net for the Dynamo as he scored his ninth of the season last week. The Dynamo will also welcome back Giles Barnes back from national team due with Jamaica at the Gold Cup along with DaMarcus Beasley. This Dynamo team that comes to KC will be quite different from the one that came to KC for the US Open Cup, they'll be a more dangerous team.

KC also welcomes back Graham Zusi from the Gold Cup as KC will be able to field their first choice lineup for the game as well. KC suffered just their second loss in their last 15 games in their last game out. Both of those losses came on the road against Salt Lake. KC is still unbeaten at home this season and will need to rely on that home form tomorrow against a very game Houston team. The team will have Zusi along with Benny Feilhaber and Matt Besler returning having all played 45 minutes on the midweek in the MLS All Star Game. All should though be ready for Saturday's game.

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

Key Match Up - Soni Mustivar vs Giles Barnes - Barnes has returned from national team duty and will likely slot in with Bruin as a forward or right behind him.  If he's lined up behind Bruin, Mustivar will be tasked with keeping an eye on Barnes throughout the game. This will be key because as Barnes showed in the Gold Cup, giving him a free kick around the box is very dangerous.

Number to Remember - 2012 - Across all competitions Dom Dwyer and Krisztian Nemeth have both hit double digits for goals in a season, this is the first time since the 2012 season when CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara both his double digits. Along with both of them, Benny Feilhaber is not far off from becoming the third player to reach double digits with 8 goals. If he can reach double digits, it'll be the first time in club history that three players will hit double digits in 1 season.

PREDICTION - This will be a much different game than the one these two teams played a week and a half ago with both teams being closer to full strength than they were in the Open Cup. Houston always seems to be able o give KC a game. That doesn't seem to have changed with the managerial change from Dom Kinnear to Owen Coyle. Tomorrow's game will be tight with the Daynamo needing a win to really jump start t heir season if they want to make a playoff run. KC needs the game to put them in a good position for when they start to play those games in hand. I'm not sure that either team walks out with all three points tomorrow though.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
HOU - 1 (Torres)

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