Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Match Day 21: Continuing a Busy Week

Sporting Kansas City continue what is a busy week for the club with the first of two games on the road as they travel to Chicago to take on the Fire at Toyota Park. Kansas City has a trip to Colorado to finish off their three games in seven days, but will first have to go to Chicago and play, a place that Sporting has not done very well throughout their history.

The Fire are having another poor regular season, they currently have the fewest points in the league, just 14 points from their first 16 games. They've also been struggling to score, having scored just 15 goals so far on the season. The Fire though haven't been a bad team at home, sitting currently with a 3-2-3 record at Toyota Park, it's really been ther away form, where the Fire haven't won since 2014 that have done them in. Even with those struggles though the Fire can cause trouble for Sporting KC with their pace. Specifically David Accam, who leads the team in scoring can cause a number of problems for Sporting Kansas City.

Sporting meanwhile will look to continue their five game league unbeaten run on the road in a palce where they've won just four times in 23 regular season games there. The big question heading into the game though may be how much rotation Peter Vermes decides to go with ahead of a trip on Saturday to Colorado. Much has been made of Matt Besler's benching in favor of Lawrence Olum and Ike Opara as KC has gone on an unbeaten run with those two getting the majority of the minutes. With Nuno Coelho also returning from injury KC could look to mix things up a bit with their center back pairing just to give Opara and Olum a rest so they're ready for the game in Colorado this weekend.

Hallisey - Dwyer - Peterson
Espinoza - Feilhaber
Medranda - Besler - Coelho - Abdul-Salaam

Number to Remember - 4 - That's the number of wins that Kansas City has in Chicago in their history, it's actually not the location that KC is the worst at any more, that honor actually goes to San Jose now.

Key Match Up - KC Attack vs Sean Johnson - The Chicago goalkeeper has played just seven of Chicago's 16 games so far this season, but always seems to play lights out against Sporting KC. He always seems to come ready to play against KC and will make a number of decent saves. KC's attack has finally woken up, scoring six goals in the last two games, 10 in their last four, the offense seems to be starting to click.

PREDICTION - Chicago isn't a very good team, they've shown some flashes, but overall have been underwhelming this season. While Chicago isn't a place that KC is known to play well with the way Kansas City has been playing the last few games they should be able to extend the unbeaten run to six. The back line's ability to handle Accam and Michael de Leeuw will be key for Sporting, but I think they can come away with at least a draw.

SKC - 2 (Dwyer, Feilhaber)
CHI - 1 (Accam)

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