SPORTING KANSAS CITY v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Our Sounders make the trip to State Avenue to face Sporting Kansas City in their native environs. A Sunday matinee, and a chance at Green redemption in America’s breadbasket.

It’s been a rough go getting jounced out of CONCACAF Champions League by Chivas, losing Jordan Morris for the season to a torn knee, generally watching player after player either getting injured or sent off, losing all three of our league matches whilst failing to score a goal in the league. All of this is given and has led to a certain amount of despair and a glittering sea of empty pint tins in my recycle bin.

That’s a lot of downside for a league season that is only three matches old. The metrics say that the Sounders start crap only to return to a vein of form that makes the better clubs of MLS desperately wish to avoid facing us in matches of any consequence.

The thing is, none of that matters in the end. We support our Boys in Green no matter what. Come rain or shine, taking the good with the bad, the yin with the yang, and any other metaphor for form and chaos imaginable. We are the fans and supporters of the Sounders FC. That is all. If total devotion and towering support are too much to ask, you signed up for duty on the wrong ship.

PINTS, MATES, VOLUME, FOOTBALL, MAGIC!

Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

seattle sliver of light
It can’t rain all the time.

The Good News
Alonso may return to the team this afternoon. The word is he’s past his quadriceps troubles, and ready for action.

Although Kansas City has always been a poxy away match for the Sounders, we’ve won slightly more than we’ve lost (4-1-3 all-time).

Most of the team is healthy enough to be available for selection. Aside from Morris who is out for the year, the list of injuries seem the type that might magically go away when the line-up is presented on match day.

It’s possible that the long layoff has created some cohesiveness in training that will generate the Sounders’ first positive result of the season. It seems likely enough, and we have a solid group of players, so why not?

Sporting are conceding an average of 1.5 goals per match.

The Bad News
Three days ago, the MLS Disciplinary Committee decided to add a second match to Clint Dempsey’s suspension as well as an undisclosed fine. So no Dempsey heroics possible in this vital away match.

Kelvin Leerdam will serve his one-match ban for slapping a player in the face against visiting Montreal two weeks past.

Current club discipline is what I would charitably refer to as shite, as we’ve had a player sent off in each of our first three league matches, a pace that would be unsustainable at any club. We love you boys in Green, but mind your temper, God sakes (feel free to insert appropriate deity of choice or if atheist a stream of proper swear words will do).

The Sounders have yet to score a goal in three league matches. This vortex of not scoring goals is deeply troubling and must be remedied sharpish. The universe knows we’ve had our chances. GET IN!!!

Kansas City are averaging two goals a match in the league. We are allowing just under two goals a match.

Kansas City added strong players to an already strong side for this season.

Only Atlanta United (13) have scored more goals than Kansas City (12) this season.

Know Thine Enemy
(based on the SKC side that faced Los Angeles Galaxy a week ago)

Goalkeeper –

Melia, 31, has 93 matches of experience in his nine-year MLS career, having played 87 of those with Sporting. Melia has 28 career clean sheets. Melia is a top professional who is perhaps unlucky to have not earned a chance at a United States cap.

Defence –

Medranda, 24, is a Colombian national developed by Deportivo Pereira. Medranda has played 80 times for Sporting, regularly starting in their back four for the past three seasons.

Besler, 31, is the current captain at Sporting. Besler has played 232 times for his club, dating back to their days as Kansas City Wizards. 2018 is the tenth year of Besler’s MLS career. Developed by Notre Dame (NCAA), and the KCFC Alliance, the Overland Park, Kansas native has earned 47 United States caps.

Opara, 29, has played nearly 100 matches with Sporting. Opara has started every league match in defence for Kansas City since the beginning of the 2017 season. Opara has played in 123 career MLS matches and has one cap for United States. Opara was originally a number three overall MLS SuperDraft pick for San Jose.

Zusi, 31, another career Kansas City man, has played 224 times for Sporting, scoring 27 goals. If he’s not hurt, expect him in the team. Zusi has 55 caps and five goals for United States.

Midfield –
Croizet, 26, has played every match in this, his first season with Kansas City. Croizet is a French national who is most notable for featuring in Belgian League football at Leuven and Mechelen where he played over 100 matches scoring 16 goals. He signed with Kansas City in December of 2017 on a Designated Player contract.

Sanchez, 27, is in his second season with Sporting. He has played 39 matches with Kansas City over two seasons. Before joining Kansas City in 2017, the Barcelona native had played 114 times with Barcelona B, 24 times for 1860 Munich, and 27 times on loan at Elche.

Espinoza, 31, has played his entire nine-year MLS career at Kansas City. The Honduran national has played 196 times for Kansas City scoring five goals. This is Espinoza’s second stint with Sporting, as he left the club in 2013 to play 36 matches at Wigan Athletic in England. Espinoza has 53 caps and five goals for Honduras.

Forward –

Salloi, 21, is a Hungarian national produced by Ujpest FC. Since his 2016 signing with Sporting, he has played 27 matches scoring four goals.

Shelton, 24, is a new signing for Kansas City that previously played for NYCFC. Shelton has a total of 59 matches scoring six goals in his four-year MLS career. The product of Lonestar SC and Oregon State (NCAA) earned eight United States youth caps.

Russell, 28, another new face at Sporting, has scored two goals in his first six matches with the club. The Scottish national previously played with Dundee United (102 matches/31 goals), and Derby County (182 matches/30 goals). Russell has four caps for Scotland. Suffice it to say; the man scores goals. Watch for him on the right wing.

Speculation and Musings
I like a team today that has Frei in goal, Torres and Marshall at centre-halves, Nouhou Tolo and Francis at full-back, Alonso and Cristian Roldan holding, Lodeiro as the #10, Neagle and Rodriguez on the wings and Bruin up top. That would be my selection. I wonder who Sounders manager, Brian Schmetzer will select. I don’t think today’s match is the time to test out youth over experience.

Familiar Face
Former Sounders skipper, Brad Evans, could face his former mates for the first time wearing the sky blue shirt of Sporting KC. Evans played 200 matches in his Sounders career. It’s going to be weird, and in any reckoning, a bit sad.

Squads
Sporting KC from: Melia, Dick, Zendejas, Amor, Besler, Didic, Evans, Lewis, Lindsey, Medranda, Opara, Sinovic, Smith, Storm, Zusi, Busio, Croizet, Espinoza, Gutierrez, Lobato, Sanchez, Kamal, Belmar, Gerso Fernandes, Rubio, Russell, Salloi, Shelton.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Torres, Alonso, Bwana, Delem, Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Svensson, Wingo, Bruin.

Injury List
Sporting KC –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Gutierrez (undisclosed injury).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Alonso (quad), Rodriguez (knee), Kim (calf), Wingo (thumb).

Discipline
Sounders FC: Dempsey (extended suspension), Leerdam (sent-off).

Fun Fact
Five days ago, Seattle Sounders FC2 announced the signing of Sounders Academy forward Alfonzo Ocampo-Chavez. Looks like the lad has a nose for goal. Well done, Alfonzo. Welcome to professional football, and good on him. I look forward to seeing his debut in the Sounders first team.

“Ocampo-Chavez, 16, has five goals in eight games for the Sounders FC U-17 squad, as well as two goals and two assists in two games for the U-19 side this season. He also won the golden boot with eight strikes at the 2017 Youdan Tournament, which Sounders FC’s Academy won back in August for the second consecutive year.” (as reported by soundersfc.com).

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