Friday, August 28, 2015

Match Day 25: Sporting Head to the Rockies with 800 Friends

Tomorrow Sporting KC take on the Colorado Rapids and look to end their first two game losing streak, but they won't be doing it all by themselves. They'll be doing it with traveling support of over 800 for the game. Once again a large traveling Cauldron is heading to the Mile High City to support Sporting KC. The large group will certainly be helpful to the team, giving them some great support on the road.

While KC is coming in on a two game slide, the Rapids are coming in having won their last two games, winning 1-0 in Chicago last weekend and 2-1 against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night. Those two wins though haven't improved their standing in the table though as they still sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, outside the playoffs. They also have the fewest goals in the league still, having scored just 23 goals, six fewer than the next lowest, Salt Lake and Montreal. At the same time though they're tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps for fewest goals allowed this season. So while they're not scoring much, they're not allowing much either. Their defense will take a blow this weekend though as center back Bobby Burling is suspended for the game after picking up a yellow card on Wednesday, his fifth of the season, getting him an automatic one game suspension.

KC will continue to have their own blows, although theirs are due to injury, not suspension. Along with the long term injuries, Soni Mustivar looks set to miss his third straight game with a groin strain. That means that Mikey Lopez or Amobi Okugo will step back into the deep midfield position behind Paulo Nagamura and the returning Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber's return will certainly help out, but Mustivar's absence is going to be a big loss for KC to attempt to recover from. This game will also be the last game for both Krisztian Nemeth and Marcel de Jong before they depart on international duty, just another thing to keep in mind heading into tomorrow.

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

Number to Remember - 13 - That's the number of games in a row that KC is unbeaten against Colorado in MLS action. The last loss was on a trip to Colorado in 2009, 2-1 when Michael Kraus scored KC's lone goal. In all competitions the Rapids haven't fared much better against KC, their last win was a 2-1 win in a US Open Cup qualifier back in 2010 when Teal Bunbury scored in KC's lone game on UMKC's campus.

Key Match Up - Kevin Ellis vs Kevin Doyle - While Ellis stands only 5'9" according to Sporting's site, more often than not it seems that Ellis is set up to mark the opposing team's key set piece target. Quite often Ellis does quite well against his bigger opposition and he'll need to do that again tomorrow against Doyle. The Irish striker can be a weapon on set pieces and Ellis will have a big job keeping him in check.

PREDICTION - Some times players and teams overstate the level that support, especially away from home has on a game. Tomorrow though I think is one of those times that the away support really can have an effect. It is hard to ignore 800+ traveling away support for a game. Especially in Colorado, where their front office issues have helped lead to plenty of division in the front office. It won't be an easy game with KC still battling injuries, but I think KC ends their winless run at 2 tomorrow night, although I don't think they stop the bleeding in goal.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Nemeth)
CO - 1 (Powers)

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