There are two important streaks in play when Sporting Kansas City hosts the Montreal Impact.
The Kansas City Star
1. Kansas City hasn't scored a goal since Claudio Bieler found the net in the 77th minute against Toronto, a streak that stands at 193 minutes. During this stretch, Kansas City have looked dominant in possession but lacking ideas in the final third.
2. Montreal have yet to lose in 2013, having rolled Seattle, Portland, Toronto and New York so far. During this stretch, Montreal have looked dominant in every area of the field and have been downright lethal on the counter attack.
Ending the first streak might just help Sporting KC end the second.
Of course, there's a third streak that Kansas City does want to keep going: KC haven't allowed a goal in 249 minutes.
Let's get this preview started by beginning with basics.
The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. If you can't make it to the game, KSMO-TV will have the broadcast with Callum Williams and Jake Yadrich. It's also going to be available for those outside of Kansas City as a live stream on MLSsoccer.com. (Check it out here.)
1. Can KC's defense keep Marco Di Vaio in check?
Montreal's main threat in attack lives and dies riding the offside line. Seriously. This year, he's been called for offside 16 times through four games. (As a matter of comparison, Bieler has been called for offside five times and that leads KC.) Last year, he rang up the second-most offside calls in the league -- and he only played 17 of the 34 games!
Here's the thing: He can ride that line so often because he can do this.
Kind of a dangerous thought when you consider that Aurelien Collin is known to wander at times and Matt Besler isn't a certainty to start after his heroics in Mexico this week.
2. Can KC's offense get shots on goal?
If KC wants to end its streak of scoreless minutes, it's going to need to improve its quality of chances on goal. Since the Toronto game, the squad have just 8 shots on target, but I'd be hard-pressed to remember any of them except C.J. Sapong striking the bar in New England.
Kansas City will need to involve Bieler in the play and protect him from getting isolated. Against Chicago and New England, the designated player was smothered by the central defenders. I don't think KC needs (or will) to change the formation, but it definitely needs to figure out how to get another player (maybe Benny Feilhaber or Sapong) closer to him to help the attack.
MLS vet Jorge Gonzalez is in charge of the match. Over 90 MLS games, he's doled out 3.2 yellow cards per game, 27 red cards and 23 penalties.
KANSAS CITY: OUT -- Teal Bunbury (left knee sprain), Jacob Peterson (right shoulder sprain)*
*Not officially on the injury report, but Vermes earlier this week said that Besler, Zusi and Chance Myers are all questionable.
MONTREAL: OUT -- Nelson Rivas (left knee surgery), Alessandro Nesta (right adductor strain), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (right calf strain); PROBABLE -- Maxim Tissot (right knee sprain)
Best Guess at KC's Starting XI
I'm thinking Besler and Zusi will play -- despite Vermes calling them questionable. Both were healthy before they left and neither played the full 180 minutes with the U.S. team. (BTW, did you know that according to the Castrol Index, Besler was the highest-rated player for the Yanks on Tuesday? Or that Zusi was the fourth? Pretty cool.) Could this week see a slight tweak to the 4-3-3 to help retain possession against a dangerous Montreal team? I think so.
GK: Jimmy Nielsen-c; DEF: Mechack Jerome, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; MID: Oriol Rosell, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi; FWD: C.J. Sapong, Claudio Bieler, Bobby Convey
SUBS: Eric Kronberg; Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Josh Gardner; Paulo Nagamura, Mikey Lopez; Soony Saad
That's a bold prediction based solely on my intuition.
Kansas City 1, Montreal 1 Probably not a popular opinion, but I think goals by Di Vaio and Sapong split the points.
MatchDay Hype Song
In keeping with our usual punk-y, noise-y ethos on the blog, here's one of KC's finest punk-y, noise-y bands: Steady States. The song is "Mongo Mad" and it has no real association with the match, I just really like the song and the band.