That’s a tweet that could have easily been written about Sporting KC over the last few years. Lots of possession in the attacking third, not a lot of bite. This year, Kansas City has been much better — especially recently — in converting chances: 47 of KC’s 130 total shots has been on target. The Union, meanwhile, have launched 141 shots with just 37 on target. For good measure, KC has 14 goals from 9 games to Philadelphia’s 10 from 11. Why has KC been more effective? SKC’s attackers are taking (and converting) shots from more dangerous (and closer) positions. According to Michael Caley’s excellent advanced stats database, Sporting KC takes 43.3 percent of its shots from the danger zone ( the area inside the six-yard box and the area surrounding the penalty spot and not this). Philadelphia? Just 35.5%. It’s not often Kansas City gets to play a team that shoots more with less efficiency. What’s interesting is that, when you look at the shots that each allow, the story is almost exactly flipped. Philadelphia has allowed 44.2% of its opponents’ shots to come from the danger zone (to the tune of 14 goals allowed), while KC has allowed just 34.8% of its opponents’ shots from in close (to the tune of just six goals allowed).* *The league’s best at preventing danger shots? Seattle (26%). The worst? Chicago (50.9%). TL;DR: Kansas City takes more shots from in closer (and converts more often) than Philadelphia and allows fewer shots from in closer (and keeps more out of the net) than Philadelphia too. Sporting KC: Top of the East. Philadelphia: Not so much. Philadelphia’s Dangermen Midfielder Maurice Edu — also in his last game before the World Cup camp — has been very good for the Union this year, but the main threat for KC’s defense could be the wide play of Vincent Nogueira and Christian Maidana. They generate a ton of crosses (25 per game — second best in the league) but those crosses only lead to 34% of their danger-zone shots (which is terrible; the third-worst percentage in the league). Best Guess at SKC’s Lineup I’m predicting a return for a healthy Zizzo, some much-deserved rest for Feilhaber and a start for Beiler — all based on a hunch. GK: Kronberg; DEF: Myers, Collin, Besler-c; Sinovic; MID: Rosell, Nagamura, Dovale; FWD: Zizzo, Bieler, Zusi Bench: Gruenebaum; Juliao, Olum; Martinez; Peterson, Saad, Dwyer Prediction Sporting KC 2, Philadelphia 1 I think Eric Kronberg’s home shutout streak comes to an end, but KC will have enough quality to see off the challengers. Song of the Week Primus opened for Queens of the Stone Age last night at Starlight. They were a very important band in shaping my early musical development, especially the “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” album. It was brilliantly weird. So, enjoy one of my all-time favorite songs, “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver.” I’m kicking myself for missing that concert last night. (And also the Slayer/Suicidal Tendencies show at the Uptown. Four amazing bands were in KC last night.)
Philadelphia are 4th in successful passes in the Opp. Half & passes into the Final 1/3 and 3rd in shots. Yet, they're T-14th in goals & SOG.— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) May 14, 2014
May 14, 2014 8:50 AM
MatchDay 10: Previewing Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union
In the last game before losing Matt Besler and Graham Zusi for the World Cup, Sporting Kansas City welcomes the Philadelphia Union to Sporting Park (7:30 p.m. on KMCI-TV). And, as with last weekend's game in Montreal, this is a game of two teams holding up the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table.