Friday, June 24, 2016

Match Day 18: Looking to Continue the Run of Form

After picking up a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday, Sporting KC will try to continue their recent turn around in form on the road when they take on the Montreal Impact tomorrow evening. The two teams sit in similar position in their respective conferences with Sporting currently in fifth place in the West while Montreal is in fourth in the East.

Montreal was a trendy pick in preseason to be an MLS Cup contender, especially with a full sesaon with Didier Drogba after his decision to play another season. He missed the first few weeks of the season, but since playing the former Ivory Coast international has returned has scored five goals and added four assists for the Impact. His presence on the field is enough to create chances for his teammates because he draws so much attention just being on the field. The Impact though will be missing a big piece of their offense tomorrow though, midfielder, Ignacio Piatti, the team's leading scorer with eight goals on the season, he's still out another week or two after having hand surgery. His absence will be felt quite a bit for the Impact in the midfield. One other familiar face for KC has caused them plenty of issues over the years, Dominic Oduro, the speedy forward always seems to give Kansas City trouble with his pace, Jimmy Medranda, or whoever plays left back for KC will have to be on their game tomorrow to deal with the speedy Oduro.

Kansas City is finally getting some confidence it seems, even if it came in part thanks to a refereeing mistake, some times you need those little mistakes to really help jump start a season. Hopefully the win against Dallas is seen as a kicking off point and not just a small hill in the valley that has been most of KC's season this year. Sporting will have to play without their captain and vice captain as Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are sill with the US team for their third place game against Colombia tomorrow as well. It also looks as those Nuno Coelho will miss another game as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. With Soni Mustivar also nursing an injury KC will likely be lining up similar to how they did in the second half against FC Dallas on Sunday, although I think a number of KC fans would like to see at Brad Davis get back into the starting 11 ahead of either Jacob Peterson or Connor Hallisey.

Davis - Dwyer - Peterson
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Medranda - Opara - Ellis - Abdul-Salaam

Number to remember - 1 - That's the number of losses that Kansas City has all time in Montreal, that loss came back in 2013, since then KC have won their other two games at Stade Saputo by a combined 5-1 scoreline. KC has also won their last four games overall against the Impact, not losing since that loss on the road in 2013.

Key Match Up - Ike Opara vs Didier Drogba - Opara will have his hands full with Drogba, but Opara's athleticism should make the match up extremely interesting at the same time. The two should have a very good match up tomorrow.

PREDICTION - So far both of these teams haven't fully lived up to expectations this season, but Montreal is certainly a strong team. Kansas City's defense has been playing much better over the last few games, being able to shut down some of the league's more high scoring offenses. They'll face another strong forward in Drogba and shutting him down will be a tough ask. In a hostile environment like Montreal I'm not sure that KC can keep their current run going, although the team will play better I think Montreal will have just enough offense to top them.

SKC - 1 (Dwyer)
MTL - 2 (Drogba, Oduro)

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