Anyone that finds soccer boring and uneventful who are going to see their first soccer match tonight in the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Livestrong Sporting Park, might be in for a surprise. With the Colorado Rapids trailing Sporting KC 2-0, Rapids manager Gary Smith is making it clear he only has one tactic in mind if his side want to move on; mind games.
In an obvious attempt to get into the head of Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes, Smith compared Sporting to a college team describing KC's physical play as "overzealous" and "absolutely ridiculous" referring to challenges made against his players in the first leg this past Sunday.
Look, his team is down 2-0 going away playing in the toughest home venue in MLS, and to be perfectly honest this is the only shot they have. If they try and play Sporting straight up, they will lose. They will do anything and everything to get into the heads of Sporting KC players and make this look more like hockey rather than a soccer game. Expect to see at least one reckless challenge made by a Rapids player in the first 5 minutes (ref will be less likely to book or send a player off).If Sporting can keep their composure and not get sucked into their trap, Sporting KC will advance hopefully with little less than a few cuts and bruises. If advancement becomes inevitable for Sporting KC, look for Vermes to remove Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza and Omar Bravo to avoid injury and or retaliation for the final.
- Colorado will have more fouls committed on Espinoza and the Sporting KC midfield than shots attempted; more goal box skirmishes than Colorado has shots on goal.
- Red Card for the Red Head: Rapids defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz has been eyeing Roger Espinoza all year. If defeat becomes inevitable, he will be the angriest red head in the world and he will tee-off.
- Sporting 5, Colorado 1: No chance
If I'm wrong, I'll live up and eat it.