KANSAS CITY, KS - SEPTEMBER 05: Midfielder David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy moves the ball up field against Sporting Kansas City during the first half on September 5, 2011 at LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Sporting Kansas City and LA Galaxy are set to partake on one of the early "Big four" clashes of the season. Last year LA dominated the series and outscored Sporting 7-3. But who exactly is the underdog heading into tomorrow afternoon's game? Sure LA Galaxy have David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane on their side but last week at home Los Galácticos lost 3-1 to the New England Revolution, a match result that sent shock waves around the league.
Sporting KC on the other hand are entering this match with a terrific league-leading 12 points after winning 4 games on the trot to start the season. While Sporting KC are enjoying their successes at the top, LA sit near the bottom of the Western Conference with a measly 3 points from 3 games. With that in mind there is now an urgency for LA to pick up points to get their season heading in the right direction and while no one expects LA to stay down in the bottom half of the table for long LIVESTRONG Sporting Park has been traditionally tough for Californian teams especially. In-fact no team from California has ever walked out of LSP with three points and last year Sporting KC fared well against Golden State teams with a 2-3-1(W-T-L) record, collecting 9 from a possible 18 points.
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Time: 3:00 pm CT, coverage on ESPN2 at 3:00 pm CT
Where: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas.
Who: Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy
What: Major League Soccer Round 5
Key Matchup: CJ Sapong vs. LA's Vulnerable Center Backs
If CJ has looked like a ghost in the past two weeks, LA Galaxy's center backs have been non-existent. Without the injured Omar Gonzalez in the middle of the defense who is very reliable when clearing crosses and making timely tackles, LA has looked weak, they've played too deep and the current CB partnerships aren't working. "Meyer still has some difficulty taking direction from Josh Saunders, and it's really hard to get a read on Andrew Boyens." says Josie Becker of LAG Confidential(a fellow SB Nation blog that covers LA Galaxy and spoke to me earlier this week about the team), "Meanwhile, A.J. DeLaGarza is thrust into a leadership role in the back, and while he might grow into it, doesn't seem like that's happened just yet." So the question will be whether or not the CJ we saw at the beginning of the season will show up or if LA's center backs will have had enough time to gel since that shock defeat last week.
Predicted Starting Lineup: GK: Jimmy Nielsen RB: Chance Myers CB"s: Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler LB: Seth Sinovic CM's: Julio Cesar, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza RW: Kei Kamara ST: CJ Sapong LW: Bobby Convey
Same old lineup as always most likely....
Predicted Scoreline: Sporting Kansas City 2 - LA Galaxy 1
LA Galaxy will probably get a goal from their ever-dangerous offense but Sporting KC will have too much confidence against a LA team that is sorely missing it. My only wish is that Sporting remembers that even though LA has hit a rough patch in their season, they are still a massive football club and should not be taken lightly.