Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Match Day 9: West Coast Swing

Sporting Kansas City continue their West Coast road trip tomorrow with a game up in Canada against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. The pair has already met once this year with Kansas City winning the first match up 2-1 at Children's Mercy Park back in March.

The Whitecaps come into the game after a very productive win on the weekend, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 thanks to an own goal, Jordan Harvey, and Kekuta Manneh. The win was Vancouver's first in four games after a pair of losses and a draw with Los Angeles at home. Vancouver currently sits two points behind Kansas City, currently in 7th place on 10 points with a 3-4-1 record. The big question for the Whitecaps heading into tomorrow's game could be whether they choose to stick with Octavio Rivero at center forward or if hey potentially give a chance to Blas Perez in the game. Neither of the forwards has scored a goal yet this season, but Rivero seems to have been struggling more at the position in the early going of the season.

Kansas City is looking to end their three game losing streak and try to salvage something out of the road trip after losing 1-0 in San Jose Sunday. With another game on Sunday at home against the LA Galaxy the question is again how much rotation does Peter Vermes go with. With the announcement today that Sporting is loaning Jordi Quintilla to the Swope Park Rangers tomorrow, it leaves KC with few options in the midfield if KC decides to rotate there. Elsewhere KC could throw in the likes of Connor Hallisey or Jimmy Medranda on the wing, Seth Sinovic at left back, or Ike Opara spelling one of KC's two center backs.

Hallisey - Dwyer - Zusi
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Sinovic - Opara - Coelho - SAS

Number to Remember - 2014 - That's the last time KC had a losing streak go more than three games. KC lost four straight games in late August and early September of 2014, falling 3-0 to DC, 3-1 to Houston, 3-1 to New England, and 2-1 to New York.

Key Match Up - Lawrence Olum vs Pedro Morales - Filling in for Soni Mustivar has not been easy for Lawrence Olum, he performed better against the Earthquakes on Sunday but is still probably the weak link right now in KC's lineup. Morales is the Whitecaps leading scorer and will like his chances in the match up against Olum.

PREDICTION - Sporting came out and had plenty of pressure in the loss to San Jose; the question becomes how much gas is left in the tank for Kansas City after that. The Whitecaps looked good in their win over Dallas and will cause Kansas City plenty of problems. Unfortunately I'm not sure KC can get things done on the road this time. That said this is MLS and after the recent performances Sporting winning this game would be "peak" MLS.

SKC - 0
VAN - 2 (Morales, Manneh)

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