SPORTING KANSAS CITY v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders prepare to finish their midwest road trip with a midweek fixture at State Avenue in Kansas City. It’s been hard going of late, and the only thing certain is that it’s not easy being Green. After having the better of possession at Haarlem avenue last Saturday, we were thanked for our trouble with a 4:1 thrashing at the hands of Chicago Fire, last year’s bottom of table squad. Perhaps a change of scenery will do the lads good. We still possess one of the most talented squads in MLS. We’re still the MLS Cup holders. We still have the best support in the league – home or away. We will do the only thing we can do. Forge ahead and keep it Green. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

morris
Time for Jordo to hit one, innit? Look at him, licking his chops to score a goal.

The Good News
Our starters are all healthy, save Torres who is still nursing a hamstring problem. SKC are suffering from a similar lack of recent form, taking only one point from their last two matches. The all-time series favours the Sounders 7-3-4. All time on the road at State Avenue we are 4-1-2. We are scoring better than three-tenths of a goal more per match than Kansas City. We’ve been through patches of form worse than this and come out the stronger for it at the end of the season. Prolific SKC striker, Dom Dwyer is out this match due to accumulated bookings. SKC are struggling to score goals, as they are averaging slightly less than 1.2 goals/match. The form book and the metrics say we’re going to lose big today. If the season so far is any indication, the form book and metrics are pretty much out the window. So that’s something.

The Bad News
Basically everything else. SKC are unbeaten at home this season, whilst we struggle on the road. They have only one player on injury list. SKC have dropped only two out of all 11 matches this season, so far. The way SKC re-tooled in the offseason is very similar to what Chicago did: Waive a bunch of players and add some new players including a few foreign ringers. We’ve won only one out of six away fixtures this season. They are defending with a high level of consistency, allowing less than a goal per match. Our victory against KC in MLS Cup wasn’t a particularly friendly affair, making me suspect that this match could develop into a very ugly affair. SKC are 6th in the league table, whilst we have dropped to 19th. We’ve only won two matches all season out of 10, this includes three losses in the last five matches. In addition, Jones is suspended as he was sent off last Saturday for his 2nd booking in the same match.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Melia is their starter and has played most of the matches since he was signed in 2015. Zendejas is the apprentice. Dykstra the backup, with 31 matches of MLS experience.

Defence – Zusi is a regular selection for the Yanks and is more of a winger who scores goals. This suggests that at times SKC play three at the back. Opara was once a 3rd overall pick in the draft for San Jose and has played 90 times in MLS. Besler was a regular selection for the Yanks, and may well be again. Loads of experience (200 matches). Sinovic is a solid domestic veteran with over 150 matches of MLS experience. An aging backline, but a capable one, as their defensive record indicates.

Midfield – Feilhaber has played over 300 times as a professional with 36 goals to show for it. 170 of those matches were in MLS. Also played stints at Hamburg and Derby. 43 caps for the Yanks. Plenty of skill and experience. At 32, getting a bit long in the tooth. Sanchez is a recent transfer in from 1860 Munich. He left on a free but played over 100 times for Barcelona reserves as they are the club that developed him. Espinoza has played over 160 times for SKC. His career includes nearly 40 matches at Wigan Athletic and over 40 caps for Honduras.

Forward – Fernandes is a recent transfer in from Belenenses and has over 150 games of Portuguese football under his belt. He signed this January on a three-years Designated Player contract. Blessing is a young Ghanian national, short on experience (4 matches with SKC), but perhaps long on talent. Medranda is a young Colombian national with 60 matches of professional experience. Listed as a midfielder, he was originally on loan from Deportivo Pereira, then the loan was made permanent. He’s played 41 times for SKC.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Selections for Last Match
KC: Melia, Zusi, Opara, Besler, Sinovic, Feilhaber, Sanchez, Espinoza, Fernandes, Blessing, Medranda.

Bench: Zendejas (gk), Ellis, Abdul-Salaam, Mustivar, Saad, Porter, Salloi.

Sounders FC: Frei, Roldan, Marshall, Alfaro, Jones, Shipp, Alonso, Svensson, Dempsey, Morris, Lodeiro.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Fisher, Evans, Fernandez, Bruin, Mathers, Adekoya.

Injury List
Kansas City –
OUT: Rubio (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Tolo (shoulder), Torres (hamstring), Wingo (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Kovar (groin).

Discipline
Kansas City: Dwyer – Out this match (accumulated bookings).

Sounders FC: Jones – Out this match (sent off).

Fun Fact
The 14 league matches between these two clubs have produced 42 bookings, with five sent off. As long as everyone likes each other. That’s the important thing.

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