Friday, October 02, 2015

Match Day 31: Quick Hangover Recovery

Sporting KC will be looking for a good hangover cure tomorrow night in Portland when they take on the Portland Timbers. Just three days after lifting the US Open Cup, KC have an extremely important game on the road against a team they're just one point ahead of in the Western Conference. KC currently sits in fifth on 45 points while Portland is in the final playoff spot at 44. Tomorrow's an important game because a loss by either one and a San Jose win would see the loser below the red playoff line with just three games left to play.

Portland comes into the game after an impressive 2-1 win on the road in Columbus thanks to two goals by Fanendo Adi. The Timbers head into the game relatively healthy with the only notable absence being the club's captain, Will Johnson who is having surgery is potentially out for the rest of the season. Other than him the Timbers will have pretty much the full compliment of players. Including the likes of Darlington Nagbe. The new American citizen caused KC all kinds of trouble in their last meeting at Providence Park. This time Portland will again be looking to exploit their speed against a tired KC side.

The big question for Kansas City is what type of lineup the team will put out. The majority of KC's "Best XI" went 120 minutes on Wednesday night, and two of the ones that didn't left with injuries that would likely keep them out of tomorrow's game. Knocks will likely keep Soni Mustivar and Seth Sinovic out, while Krisztian Nemeth's ankle seemed to be giving him trouble late on in the game. The team will also be without Paulo Nagamura who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. The Swope Park Rangers could get another run out for KC with some of KC's starters coming in off the bench.

Anor - Peterson - Hallisey
Quintilla - Lopez
Dia - Besler - Palmer-Brown - Anibaba

Number to Remember - 1 - That's the number of goals that have been scored in the last three match ups between these two teams. And that was last year by Lawrence Olum off a long throw in by Seth Sinovic. The two teams have played to a pair of 0-0 draws this year.

Key Match Up - KC outside backs vs Portland wide attackers - In the last match up between these two teams in September, Tim Melia was forced to stand on his head to preserve a 0-0 draw for Kansas City. In the game Portland was able to get forward plenty down KC's wings and really caused KC problems. With some KC players likely with some heavy legs tomorrow, Portland will run at KC.

PREDICTION - This may not be considered a "must win" in terms of if KC lose they are out of the playoffs, but it's pretty close. This is an extremely important game for KC and Portland. Unfortunately for KC it comes shortly after a very taxing game in Philadelphia on Wednesday. I expect Sporting to play this one very conservative for a Peter Vermes team. That doesn't mean they'll sit back, but they'll be a lot more selective in when they pull out the high press that KC is known for. Unfortunately for KC I'm just not sure that they're going to have the legs to run with a very fast Portland team.

SKC - 0
PDX - 2 (Adi, Valeri)

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