Friday, April 08, 2016

Match Day 5: Another Match Up of Depleted Sides

For the second straight week Sporting KC will play a game with an injury depleted side against a team that is suffering from injury issues of their own. Kansas City travel to New York to take on the injury depleted New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. It's a match up of teams with opposite records at this early point of the season with KC sitting at 3-1 while the Red Bulls currently have a 1-3 record.

The Red Bulls injuries issues start in defense where they are without potentially three starters as well as another back up center back. Three center backs look set to be out again for New York through injuries, Damien Perrinelle, Gideon Bah, and Ronald Zubar all look like they could miss out for the Red Bulls. Last week they played outside backs Karl Ouimette and Connor Lade at center back. The defensive issues though got worst as outside back Kemar Lawrence left the Red Bulls game last week against New England with a knee injury and is now doubtful for tomorrow's game. The defensive issues have led the Red Bulls to allow a league high nine goals in their first four games of the season. Offensively their leading scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips has yet to get off the mark this season for the Red Bulls.

Kansas City's injury issues continue to mount as well. Defensively Matt Besler has yet to clear the league's concussion protocols, meaning he'll miss this weekend's game as well. The club also had another player pick up a concussion, Brad Davis will miss the game because of the concussion. Also missing tomorrow's game will be midfielder Soni Mustivar who picked up a hamstring injury. This will force more changes to the KC lineup, and questions of whether KC will go with someone like Lawrence Olum to replace Mustivar or whether Benny Feilhaber or Jordi Quintilla slide back into a more "deep playmaker" role that Feilhaber played at times last year. The good news for the midfield is that KC will welcome back Roger Espinoza, who missed last week due to a red card suspension. His absence was very apparent last week against Real Salt Lake.

Hallisey - Dwyer - Zusi
Feilhaber - Espinoza
Dia - Ellis - Coelho - Myers

Number to Remember - 0 - That's the number of wins that Kansas City has in their last six games against New York across all competitions. KC has gone 0-4-2 in those games, including a 2-1 playoff loss in 2014. The last win came back in 2013, a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena with Aurelien Collin scoring the goal for KC.

Key Match Up - Kevin Ellis vs Bradley Wright-Phillips - The New York forward has yet to score a goal this season something that can't last forever. Kansas City will need to try to shut down Wright-Phillips who has scored six goals over the course of KC's current six game winless streak against the Red Bulls. Against Salt Lake Nuno Coelho was trying to do too much in the absence of Besler, hopefully with an extra week of working with Ellis, the pair will be able to work better together and keep Wright-Phillips in check.

PREDICTION - New York is certainly allowing a fair number of goals right now, allowing nine through their first four games, but KC really struggled to in terms of creating chances against Real Salt Lake last week, not even recording a shot until almost first half stoppage time. With another makeshift back line in front of their attack, hopefully KC can put together more in terms of offense. On the other end, Espinoza's return should help to protect the back line a little bit more, as his bite in the midfield was sorely missed. The question is whether Mustivar's replacement can fill his role well enough. I'm just not sure that KC is clicking enough offensively to get the win tomorrow, even though the Red Bulls are struggling.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
NYRB - 1 (Wright-Phillips)

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