Friday, August 14, 2015

Match Day 22: Welcoming the Top of the West

Tomorrow at Sporting Park Kansas City welcome the top of the Western Conference, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver currently sits five points clear of fourth place Kansas City but have played three games more. The match up will feature one of the best home teams in the league in KC, who is unbeaten at home this season, against the Whitecaps, who are one of the best away teams in the league, with 7 wins on the road this season.

While the Whitecaps have the away form, it appears tomorrow that they'll have to do it without two of their stronger defensive pieces. Center back, Kendall Waston, who had a battle with Dom Dwyer when the two teams met in Vancouver earlier this year is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Salt Lake last year. Then Matias Laba, one of the better young defensive midfielders in the league picked up a knock on Wednesday night against the Montreal Impact and it appears that he won't be able to go tomorrow. While the Whitecaps defense has taken a hit, the attack is still young, fast, and potent with the likes of Daren Mattocks and Octavio Rivero up top.

KC's biggest health question continues to be Graham Zusi who is still questionable with his calf injury he picked up in warm ups last week in Toronto. The other big question for KC is whether there would be a let down after the big Open Cup win on Wednesday. While KC played a primarily starting lineup against Salt Lake, Vancouver rested a number of players in their mid-week Canadian Championship match up against Montreal. With KC's situation at this point of the season though they don't really have much of an option but to have a similar lineup take the field against Vancouver.

Nemeth - Dwyer - Hallisey
Okugo - Feilhaber
Dia - Besler - Ellis - Myers

Number to Remember - 1 - Benny Feilhaber needs just one assist to tie Preki's club record for assists in a season, back in 2003 on route to his second MVP award, Preki recorded 18 assists in all competitions.

Key Match Up - Kevin Ellis vs Octavio Rivero - Ellis has been having a stellar run of form over the last couple months, he has made the need for a center back to partner Matt Besler much less obvious. Tomorrow he'll match up against another successful forward in Rivero who has nine league goals on the season, will certainly be another tough stop for KC.

PREDICTION - This isn't going to be an easy team, Carl Robinson has this Whitecaps team playing extremely well. They're young and extremely hungry. With KC at home though and with Vancouver missing two big defensive pieces, there should be face for KC to expose. The big worry though are tired legs for KC after the past two weeks and two more games next week as well.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
VAN - 1 (Morales)

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