Friday, May 20, 2016

Match Day 14: The Monkey Gone, Time to Move Forward

For the first time in five weeks Sporting KC finally got a win on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Orlando City. Now with that monkey off of Sporting KC's back, the club needs to move forward and start to string some results together. This is especially important because while still early, Kansas City is below the red line in terms of playoff positioning and have played the most games in MLS so far this season (along with Dallas and Vancouver). Arguments can be made about the points in hand already, but KC needs to start to pick up points, especially against teams that are currently ahead of them like tomorrow's opponent, Real Salt Lake.

Salt Lake comes to Kansas City for their third of five straight road games for RSL. So far Salt Lake has not scored on the road trip, suffering a pair of 1-0 losses to Colorado and Houston over the past few weeks. Salt Lake though does have a win in KC this season, winning 2-1 at Children's Mercy Park to hand Kansas City their first loss of the season. This time around Salt Lake should have their veteran players like Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, and Javier Morales all available for selection which could cause more problems for KC.

Sporting finally got the win but there are still plenty of questions to be asked about the team, most pressing is probably the continued isolation of Dwyer Island up top. With Brad Davis and Graham Zusi being the regular wing strikers, even when they're inverted their first instinct is not to cut inside but to get down the line for a cross. KC's attack has really missed that cut whose mindset is to cut in first. When KC brought on Jacob Peterson they got someone who was willing to play with that mindset and it paid off with a goal and assist for Peterson. Tomorrow though I'm not sure that Peter Vermes switches things up from the lineup that started the game against Orlando, he could replace Jimmy Medranda if Seth Sinovic is ready to go, but he may stick with the Colombian at left back for another game.

Davis - Dwyer - Zusi
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Medranda - Besler - Coelho - Abdul-Salaam

Number to Remember - 5 - That's the number of consecutive league games Kansas City has gone without a win against Real Salt Lake in the series. In those five games, Kansas City has scored three goals, all three coming in losses as KC has gone 0-3-2 in that stretch. Only one of those goals has come at home as well.

Key Match Up -KC attack vs Nick Rimando - Sporting KC had over 30 shots against Orlando City and 13 of those were on target. Against Rimando, one of the league's best, Kansas City will need to be much better with their chances. While Salt Lake's defense hasn't been great, Rimando can win games on his own with his saves.

PREDICTION - Salt Lake isn't playing well, but I'm not 100% ready to believe that Kansas City is out of the woods. Orlando's defense has been less than stellar for them and Sunday was basically a must win, and KC played like it taking the game to Orlando for basically all 90 minutes. KC isn't going to get 30 shots again, and if they some how happen to they need to score more than two. Salt Lake away from home again certainly won't help then, I think KC will be able to take all three points from this game.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Feilhaber)
RSL - 1 (Plata)

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