Seattle. Kansas City. Two titans of American soccer doing battle on the artificial pitch of an American football team. You could read that as an ironic statement. Of course, the irony is that it isn't. Kansas City is playing better than just about everyone else in the MLS (2 wins, 0 goals conceded) and Seattle is one of the most dangerous and talented teams in the league. And about that artificial turf in an American football stadium? This isn't Arrowhead circa 1998 or Foxboro circa 2008. Qwest Field will be packed to the rafters with neon-green crazies. This is a big, big game. A real test for both teams. You could go so far as to say it might be the biggest match of the weekend.
BEST GUESS AT FORMATION4-3-3: The morphing attack
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-----------------Nielsen---------------------The Seven Subs:
Kronberg, Myers, Bunbury, Rocastle, Leathers, Escobar, Aiyegbusi
Battle to watchStéphane Auvray vs. Osvaldo Alonso
The logical battles to pick for this spot are the attackers vs. the defenders. But that's a little too simple. Let's instead focus on the engines that drive these two teams. Alonso and Auvray are both box-to-box midfielders as adept at breaking up an attacking play as they are at inciting an attacking play. Control the middle, control the game.
Questions You Can Ask
• Seattle has had trouble attacking recently (especially in the 1-0 loss to NYRB) and KC puts more pressure on the ball than anyone Seattle has faced.Will Seattle's forwards react the same way Colorado reacted to long stretches without possession and pull themselves away from the box looking for the ball?
• KC hasn't played a counter-attacking team yet on a pitch this wide.Will the Sounders try to pull back and suck the Wizards into their end to spring the attack?
For all the bluster (some of it by me) KC isn't invincible. But Seattle isn't quite the indomitable force they could be or their fans think they are. (Really, their only impressive game was against dreadful Philly). Both teams are fast and this should be a very exciting, attractive and interesting game. I see the teams splitting the points. Draw city. The crowd will factor early on, but the KC pressure will get them back into the game.2-2 draw.
Goals by Kamara, Smith and Zakuani, Evans.
Super Bold prediction
Fredy Montero takes a dive only twice this game. (You might have to commit me, I'm crazier than a used car salesman at tax-rebate time.)
Song to get you pumped
Hopefully we're all adults here (and since this is a Saturday, maybe we can loosen the language a tad). The song for this week is by the band Tenacious D. And, well, I stole a line from the song for the title of the post... so this is like serendipity, right?
TODAY'S REFEREEJair Marrufo
This story pretty much tells you what you need to know.
INJURY REPORTKansas City
OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL); DOUBTFUL: MF Santiago Hirsig (R groin strain); PROBABLE: MF Birahim Diop (L knee contusion); FW Kei Kamara (L foot/toe irritation)Seattle
OUT: F Nate Jaqua (lower abdominal fascial tear)Suspensions: None