Saturday, May 14, 2016

Match Day 13: Another Set of Streaks

Sporting Kansas City will play another game this weekend involving two teams in the middle of streaks. After having Houston end their long winless run and allowing Colorado to extend their unbeaten run, Sporting KC will now host Orlando City, who are winless in five straight games. KC extended their winless run to seven on Wednesday in Colorado.

Orlando comes into the game after having drawn 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls at home. Orlando has just won twice on the season, their only road win coming against New York City FC. If Orlando is going to end their winless run they're going to have to do it without their coach, Adrian Heath, who is suspended for tomorrow's game for entering the field of play during Orlando's draw with the Red Bulls. On the field Orlando is also going to be missing some bite in their midfield, as Christian Higuita is suspended for this game after being red carded late on in the same game.

Kansas City is dealing with a suspension of their own, the club appealed the red card that Ike Opara received in the loss to Colorado, but the team has not heard anything back and at this point and is planning on not having him tomorrow. His absence would seem to point to Matt Besler returning to the starting 11 after sitting out Wednesday's game. Elsewhere on the field, Graham Zusi looks like he'll be available for selection again after an injury kept him out on Wednesday, but Seth Sinovic seems likely to miss out due to injury after leaving in the 59th minute. The big question is whether the players that Peter Vermes sat on Wednesday due to performance issues return. Someone like Benny Feilhaber who did not play Wednesday and seems to be considered one of the lead candidates for being sat for performance issues.

Zusi - Dwyer - Davis
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Dia - Besler - Coelho - SAS

Number to Remember - .92 - That's Sporting KC's goals per game through 12 games this season. That's good for the worst in MLS as Sporting has scored just 11 goals in 12 games so far this season. Dom Dwyer has four of those 11 goals.

Key Match Up - Nuno Coelho/Matt Besler vs Cyle Larin - The Canadian international is leading Orlando in goals this season with four so far. He's proven to be a handful for teams to deal with, and even with Kaka being questionable for the game, Orlando has done well in finding ways to get him the ball in dangerous situations.

PREDICTION - Orlando isn't a very good road team, and has had defensive issues this season. They've done quite a bit of rotating with their center back pairings and another new pairing this week could be something KC could take advantage of. At home KC's likelihood of using the press goes up quite a bit. Doing that against two center backs who haven't played a lot together could be something KC can take advantage of. At the other end though, Orlando has the speed to really hit KC on the counter if KC can't control the game well enough. Earlier this week I'd predicted a 2-1 win for Kansas City, even with the loss Wednesday I think Kansas City can finally break the winless run tomorrow.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Zusi)
OCSC - 1 (Larin)

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