Friday, August 07, 2015

Match Day 21: Battle of MVP Candidates

Tomorrow in Toronto MLS will see a match up between the two current front runners for this year's MVP award. For the visiting side, Sporting KC is Benny Feilhaber, KC's midfield difference maker has scored seven goals so far this season and assisted on 11 in MLS play, he's added another goal and four assists in KC's US Open Cup run this year. For the home side Toronto FC is the "Atomic Ant" Sebastian Giovinco. The Italian designated player current leads MLS in scoring with 16 goals and 10 assists. The pair along with Kei Kamara have been the class of the league in terms of single player performances and tomorrow will be interesting to see how each performs.

Toronto comes into the game after a mid-week home win 4-1 over Orlando City. Giovinco had a hattrick in the game to jump to the top of the MLS scoring list. He'll welcome back forward partner Jozy Altidore who returns from his red card suspension tomorrow. The pair will cause plenty of problems for Kansas City defensively tomorrow. Pulling the strings will be Michael Bradley who looks set to return from an injury that has kept him out since the Gold Cup finished for the US team. Toronto though will have some suspension adjustments to make though after Wednesday's game as Damien Perquis picked up his fifth yellow of the season and will have to sit while Benoit Cheyrou was suspended today by the disciplinary committee for endangering the safety of his opponent in Toronto's win against Orlando. So Toronto will have some shuffling to do before tomorrow's game.

KC has some shuffling of their own to do as well. Two of KC's regular starters are set to miss the game. Dom Dwyer picked up his fifth yellow of the season last week against Houston and will have to sit out tomorrow's game. Meanwhile, Roger Espinoza was suspended by the disciplinary committee for his actions in KC's 1-1 draw with the Dynamo. Not that it really matters as Espinoza's broken bone in his foot would have kept him out of this game anyway. The easy thing to do in both of these situations for KC would be to slide Krisztian Nemeth to the center forward position and bring in either Jacob Peterson or Connor Hallisey to play the wing opposite Graham Zusi. The change for Espinoza is more straight forward as Paulo Nagamura is a straight replacement for Espinoza in the box-to-box role for Kansas City.

Myers - Ellis - Besler - Dia
Nagamura - Feilhaber
Zusi - Nemeth - Peterson

Number to Remember - 1 - That's the number of wins that Toronto FC has in their last 13 games against Kansas City. Since the 2010 season, KC is 9-1-3 in their last 13 games against Toronto FC during this stretch.

Key Match Up - Kevin Ellis vs Jozy Altidore - While it'd be easy to do the match up between Giovinco and whoever will be covering him, I'll focus on a match up that each week seems to be a mismatch for the opposing team. It seems on every set piece or any time the opposing team attacks, Ellis is the one that is covering the opposing team's target striker, not the bigger Matt Besler. Ellis has done admirable in this position so far this season, we'll see how he matches up against the US international.

PREDICTION - Without Dwyer at the forward position for KC, the scoring loses a bit of punch because KC doesn't have their best front four on the field. If KC want to get the win tomorrow, Nemeth is going to have to have a big game for KC. Toronto's defense has allowed 35 goals so far this year while KC has allowed a league low 21. For KC to win, the offense is going to have to take advantage of the weaker Toronto defense. Feilhaber is going to be relied on a lot as he has been much of the season so far. Toronto's offense will get their chances, against a Toronto's defense though, it'll be up to KC's attack to match TFC blow for blow tomorrow. I'm just not sure how much they will with the US Open Cup semifinal match coming up on Wednesday.

SKC - 1 (Nemeth)
TFC - 2 (Altidore, Osorio)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You need to change Peterson and Nemeth and you'll have it