Game Numero Uno: Are you ready for Chivas?Charles Gooch
The Kansas City Star
There will be an interesting tension in the air for fans of both teams at the Home Depot Center. On the one hand, Jimmy Conrad was the iconic captain for the Kansas City Wizards (and a handsome runway model for Sporting Kansas City) but hes now wearing Goat stripes. On the other, Omar Bravo is one of the most decorated strikers wear the red-and-white stripes of Chivas de Guadalajara (Chivas USAs parent club) is now Sporting KCs designated player.
Kickoff is 9:30 p.m. with new announcer Callum Williams alongside former Kansas City midfielder Sasha Victorine. The game will be broadcast on KSMO-TV
WHERE CAN I FIND KSMO-TV?
Time Warner: 10/1471 HD || Comcast: 10/231 HD || AT&T U-Verse: 62/1062 HD || DirecTV: 62/951 HD || Dish Network: 62/6382 & 8434 HD || Surewest: 10
KC were actually road warriors last year.
At first blush, going 4-8-3 on the road last season seems pretty bad. OK, not even pretty bad. Really bad. Until you consider that, after the Manchester United friendly (when the team finally settled into the pressure system), Sporting Kansas City went 3-3-1 away from home and all three of those losses were by a score of 1-0 (at San Jose, at New York and at New England).
The three wins, all of them 2-0, were against Los Angeles, Chivas and Chicago. (Yes, KC scored four goals in the Home Depot Center in 2010, the very stadium they are playing in this evening.)
If you want to expand upon that, of Kansas Citys eight road losses last year, FIVE were by the score of 1-0 (at Seattle and at Dallas). The only two road games in which Kansas City were what you could consider beaten ""badly" were in Houston (3-0) and Salt Lake (4-1). The other loss was a 2-1 debacle in D.C.
(The three draws, for the record, were: Toronto 0-0, Colorado 1-1 and Philadelphia 1-1.)
With the exception of two games, Peter Vermes seems to have had the right set-up for road fixtures last year and the team were let down not by defense, but by a lack of offense.
You may probably have noticed: Six of the eight teams that beat KC last year wound up in the playoffs. Imagine what couldve been if the team couldve solved that pesky "soft" goal problem?
NOW, SOME FACTS ABOUT CHIVAS USA
1. Defense is a strength.
Robin Fraser, a former MLS defender and Salt Lake assistant, made rebuilding the teams defense his top priority this off-season. He brought in vets Conrad and Heath Pearce, then drafted Akrons Zarek Valentin. Toss in Ante Jazic and Chivas might have an honest-to-Jesus decent backline. But...
2. The offense should stink.
During the preseason, Chivas only scored five goals -- with just two against MLS teams. The team will start in a 4-1-4-1 and hope to pack the midfield to create goals for whomever is fit enough to stand alone up top, which is likely creaky vet Alejandro Moreno (as they just traded The Alan Gordon to Toronto).
3. They are sponsored by a beer company!
In a league with some curious shirt sponsors, Chivas actually does it right: This year, theyll have Corona plastered across their chests. Of course, a beer that didnt taste like lime-favored water (and youve got to insert the lime yourself) wouldve been a better choice in my opinion... but at least it isnt a pseudo-pyramid scheme. Or Coors Light. And it absolutely should serve as inspiration for Kansas City. Boulevard! Make it happen, OnGoal.
HISTORY VS. CHIVAS
Kansas City is 5-4-3 all time against Chivas USA but are just 1-2-3 against Chivas at the Home Depot Center (with just 6 goals scored). Last year, Chivas beat KC 2-0 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark with KC returning the favor 2-0 at the HDC.
CHIVAS USA OUT: MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Mike Lahoud (R knee laceration); QUESTIONABLE: MF Simon Elliott (R knee sprain)
SPORTING KANSAS CITY OUT: MF Ryan Smith (L knee inflammation; DF Korede Aiyegbusi (L ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Michael Harrington (L groin strain); FW Teal Bunbury (R elbow dislocation); PROBABLE: DF C.J. Sapong (neck strain)
Edvin Jurisevic. In 26 MLS games, hes called 21.4 fouls per game and awarded 3.9 yellow cards per game, 2 red cards and 3 penalties.
I would absolutely not be shocked if Thomas started over Besler, Stojcev started over Rocastle or Bunbury actually started over Diop.
Sporting Kansas City 1-0 (Diop). I expect Chivas to play a little defensively and look for the counter -- or their midfield wont be quite good enough to keep the ball long enough to attack. Kansas City, knowing they need to get points on this 10-game road trip, will look to go and get a result.
GAMEDAY HYPE SONG
I forgot how much I loved this song until I clicked play.