Somehow, Sporting Kansas City will be playing in its fourth-straight home opener: Philadelphia to open the season, at Toronto on March 9, at Sporting Park last week, and now Foxboro and the New England Revolution.
The Kansas City Star
Schedule quirk or conspiracy against KC?
I think it's probably a quirk. However: How many teams do you think open the season with three of four games on the road AND close the season with three of four games on the road? None. That's right, out of the 19 MLS teams, only Sporting Kansas City starts the season with a heavy road schedule AND ends the season with a heavy road schedule.
Colorado, Columbus, New York and Real Salt Lake open the season with three out of four on the road; New England and Chicago close the season that way. You're leaning conspiracy now, aren't you? How about this: Los Angeles opens with FOUR-STRAIGHT at home and then closes with three of four at home. This goes deeper than we thought!
A quirk would be KC opening and closing against Philadelphia.
Onto the preview. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. -- hey, it's the fourth time KC has kicked off before DINNERTIME! Quirk or conspiracy? (That's one a conspiracy. I'm sure of it. Kansas City were 15-7-7 in games that kicked off after 5 p.m. Central. THE WORLD IS AGAINST KC!)
Callum Williams and Jake Yadrich will have the call on KSMO-TV. Let's do this.
1. How will KC deal with the loss of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler?
It's going to be a big deal to lose your MVP candidate and the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year. How big? You can read my manifesto on the topic from yesterday for more.
2. When will the red card come? And who gets it?
Three of the last five matches between these two teams has featured an ejection. They're always heated affairs. The team who can control its emotions (and slide tackles) will likely be the team that thrives.
Edvin Jurisevic. He had an interesting game last time he was in charge of a Spring match between Kansas City and New England in Foxboro. That was the game that Aurelien Collin got red carded for a shove that Birhaim Diop (OF ALL PEOPLE!) committed. That was an insane 3-2 match.
Kansas City: OUT - Teal Bunbury (ACL surgery), Jacob Peterson (shoulder surgery); QUESTIONABLE - Chance Myers (quad strain), Oriol Rosell (head contusion)
New England: OUT - Saer Sene (ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE - Kalifa Cisse (groin tightness), Matt Reis (knee inflammation), Clyde Simms (hamstring tightness)
Best Guess at KC's Starting XI
I'm going to lean toward Myers still struggling (though he's on my bench) and Rosell playing through his injury. If he can't go though, I'd expect Lawrence Olum to slip in there for him.
GK: Jimmy Nielsen-c; DEF: Mechack Jerome, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic; MID: Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber; FWD: C.J. Sapong, Claudio Bieler, Bobby Convey
SUBS: Eric Kronberg; Chance Myers, Josh Gardner, Lawrence Olum; Mikey Lopez, Peterson Joseph; Soony Saad
Kansas City 1, New England 1 A draw against a team that appears on the rise would be a reasonable expectation. Especially given KC's struggles on the road to start strong. I'm going with Bieler getting the goal.
MatchDay Hype Song
Once upon a time, I used to have my own podcast. It was a good time and has since morphed into being on the more excellent and better Kick The Ball podcast. Well, the theme music for my old podcast was an excellent band called The Threes. The lead singer, Zach Hodson, is a friend of mine and big-time soccer fan. Now, his band has morphed into Dolls of Fire. It's still an excellent synth-y pop-y rock band who right amazingly layered and detailed songs.
Here's their song "GFY (300 Hands)." Enjoy.