KANSAS CITY, KS - JULY 30: Teal Bunbury #9 of Sporting Kansas City celebrates with Omar Bravo #99 after scoring a game-tying goal in the 90th minute during the game against the New England Revolution on July 30, 2011 at LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
As Kansas Citians we have begun to enjoy two things when spring time rolls around here in our beautiful Midwestern city. One of them being St. Paddy''s day, a holiday where some 37 million people country wide claim to have Irish ancestry, and apparently in Kansas City half of you all are of Irish descent.
The other thing we have to look forward to during spring time is the home opener for the ever famous Sporting Kansas City. This one of course, being the more newer of the two. And according to my stats 100% of you can not wait for the home opener on Saturday against New England - a team that's been nothing short of horrifically bad for the past two years.
Usually these dates fall on different days but in some beautiful miracle of scheduling and planning they fall perfectly - on the exact same day. So now we are on the verge of what could be the best day in history, and I don't say that lightly.
Look at the image above. None of the three players that are pictured will be available for Sporting KC as they get set to face New England on Saturday night. The biggest departure possibly being Teal Bunbury who is currently training with the US Olypmic U23 team and could in the worst case - or best case scenario miss Sporting KC's next 3 matches.
That leaves CJ Sapong as the starting center forward heading into the Saint Patty's day home opener at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park., CJ's will just be one of the many story-lines heading into this week's game but will he be able to live up to the hype and prove he can score goals without having Teal Bunbury wear down (if I can even call it that) New England's defense?
For me, it's an astounding yes. CJ is far more superior at holding up the ball and keeping possession for the rest of the forwards and midfielders than Teal is. And in the 4-3-3 formation that Sporting KC runs, it is a necessity to have. CJ's a hard worker as well, possesses great physical might and isn't afraid to run at defenders once in a while.
Another story line Sporting KC has while going into the 7:30 CT match is whether or not they can repeat the tremendous home form we saw last year. This will be the first of many games to be held at LSP and at home is where the wins will be for Sporting KC this season. Week in and week out LSP provided an intimidating atmosphere last year that rivals the likes of Pacific Northwest stadiums such as Jeld Wen Field and Century Link field.
But on the pitch itself is where it will matter for Sporting KC. Whatever has been said or done in recent weeks will be erased from players' memories when they step across the white lines at LSP. But if you're more of a stat guy then look at this one: Sporting KC has failed to beat New England in almost 2 years(and even then when we beat them it was because a certain 6'4 African striker in the way of Diop was being marked by a 5'8 Kevin Alston).
Yet, it seems as if this weeks fixture is certainly a winnable one for Sporting KC. Coming to LSP it would seem as if the New England Revolution are in total disarray, following a string of injuries to key players in the backline.
If I am worried about one thing tomorrow it is that we have too much "swag". We need to head into tomorrow's match as if it was any other game, as butchered as the Rev's back line is they still have pace in their two Gambian players Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally and can catch Sporting KC napping on the counter attack. A tandem of Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber in the midfield isn't so bad either.
GK: Nielsen, LB: Sinovic, CB's: Besler, Collin, RB: Myers, CM's: Cesar, Espinoza, Zusi, RW: Kamara, ST: Sapong, LW: Convey
New England Player to Watch: Benny Feilhaber
The US international has been a decent addition to New England since arriving last year......that's it, I really can't find a real difference maker on their roster except for maybe Shalrie Joseph.
Prediction: Sporting Kansas City 3, New England Revolution 0
A powerful team in the way of Sporting Kansas City should have no problem at dismantling a distraught New England side.