Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Match Day CCL: A Midweek Distraction

Sporting KC close out CONCACAF Champions League play tomorrow at Children's Mercy Park against Central FC. With both Sporting KC and Central FC being eliminated from the competition already the game has become a glorified friendly. With both Sporting KC and the Swope Park Rangers playing in important games this weekend, this is a game that has become a distraction in terms of preparations for important games on the weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls 2. If it wasn't for the fines and suspension from CCL play the club would receive for forfeiting the game, I think most fans would rather the game just be off the schedule entirely.

Central FC stands with an identical record as Sporting KC, having lost both games against Vancouver and drawing the game in Trinidad against Kansas City. They currently sit third in the group because Sporting has scored more goals away from home in the games between the two teams (two to zero). Both teams sit with three goals scored and seven conceded. Sporting will likely once again get to deal with Atlanta United designated player, Kenwyne Jones, as he's still on loan with the Trinidad champions.

Kansas City looks set to pull out a full squad rotation from Sunday's game against Real Salt Lake, the team announced today that the club had called up four players from the Swope Park Rangers for tomorrow's game. The only regular starter is Tyler Pasher with the other three, Tomas Granitto, Alex Molano, and Nansel Selbol all being reserves. Selbol is suspended for the final so his absence won't be felt for the Rangers come Sunday. The rest of the game day roster is likely to be made up of players who didn't play in Salt Lake on Sunday (except for maybe one) as that lineup will be preparing for San Jose on Sunday. With Diego Rubio out for the season with a torn ACL the "false 9" striker looks set to return to the lineup for Sporting as it'd be shocking if Dom Dwyer even dressed for the game.

Joya - Porter - Hallisey
Appiah - Granitto
Pasher - Coelho - Opara - Alvarado

Number to Remember - 2-0-1 - That's Kansas City's record against teams from the Caribbean in international play heading into tomorrow's game. Other than the game earlier this season against Central FC the only other time that KC played a Caribbean team was back in 2002 when KC defeated W Connection of Trinidad 3-0 on aggregate in the CONCACAF Champions Cup (the precursor to the CCL).

Key Match Up - Ike Opara vs Kenwyne Jones - I think that this could be a fun match up to watch tomorrow. You have Jones a strong forward with experience in one of the best leagues in the world going with someone in Opara who is very athletic, it has the makings of a fun match up to watch between the two.

PREDICTION - I do have to wonder how much either team is really going to put into the game tomorrow since it matters to neither team. Kansas City has their big game on Sunday against the Earthquakes while the Rangers have the USL final. On the other side, Central have kicked off their season in Trinidad, but are off until the 25th so they could put out their full first team for the game tomorrow, looking to win their first game over an MLS side (or one dressed like one). I think that extra break for the Trinidad side will have them fresher for a game against a Sporting side that may be looking more to get out of the game without injury.

SKC - 0
CFC - 1 (Jones)

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