CHESTER, PA - JUNE 22: Sebastien Le Toux #9 and Jack McInerney #19 of the Philadelphia Union battle for the ball with Luke Sassano #32 of Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park on June 22, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The games for Sporting Kansas City are coming thick and fast now aren't they? The game on Saturday against the Union will be Sporting KC's 3rd game in 7 days. And beyond that, Sporting KC will have played 5 games in 13 days when they take on the Chicago Fire in the Midwestern Derby, or whatever you want to call it, on the 29th.
The biggest thing to remember about the Union is that they have had absolute horrible form recently. In their past five games they have managed to pick up just one point, adding to their heart-wrenchingly dismal 8 points. Of course, they are doing a better than Toronto so give credit where credit is do.
But back to my main point, a team that has hit a bit of a rough patch in the form department is always going to be dangerous. Philadelphia will be desperate to turn their season around against one of the league's best and will look to take advantage of KC's inevitable lack of value for the 2nd worst team in the league.
Time: 6:00 pm CT, pregame starts at 5:30 pm on KSMO
Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania.
Who: Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union
What: MLS Round 16, Game 139 of 2012 season
Key Matchup: Freddy Adu vs. Lawrence Olum
Last week against Seattle we saw how the pace of Eddie Johnson was used against one of the slower center backs in the league, Lawrence Olum. Although EJ was caught offside on most of those plays, there were a couple of times where it was 50/50 and the assistant referee's flag could very well have stayed down. Now with Freddy Adu set to match-up against Olum, John Hackworth and co. could utilize Adu's speed against Olum. KC's defense will have to be careful if they plan on playing the offside trap.
Philadelphia Union Player To Watch Out For: Le Toux. Wait they let him go? Okay how about Mondragon. No? What about Califf? Wait WHAT?
All joking aside, the Union are in need of a club talisman, someone who can pull them up out of this slump they are in and move on to bigger and better things. But looking at the roster, who is that person? Michael Farfan and Gabriel Gomez have both impressed me but it's still not enough to make up for the loss of guys like Carlos Ruiz and Justin Mapp. As I hinted to above, Philly have let go of about 6 very important players that any MLS squad would be happy to have on their roster. The player to watch out for on Saturday night will be the player that can begin to lead Philly towards winning ways again.
Predicted Lineup: GK: Jimmy Nielsen RB: Chance Myers CB"s: Aurelien Collin, Lawrence Olum LB:Seth Sinovic CM's: Julio Cesar, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza RW: Jacob Peterson ST: Teal Bunbury LW:CJ Sapong
I think Vermes will reward Jacob Peterson for his goal on Wednesday and he'll see the start against Philly instead of Kei Kamara who has logged a lot of miles recently playing for his country, Sierra Leone. Kei is listed on the injury list as well, so that could also keep him out of the starting lineup.
Other than that I think we won't see the same reserve players as we did in Seattle. Instead, they'll drop to the bench and the regular starters will return to their normal spots.
Predicted Score: Sporting KC 2 - Philadelphia Union 1
With most of Sporting KC's starting players returning to the lineup and a valuable point picked up in Seattle, Sporting KC will be very confident. The Union can not play conservative and will be forced to attack early-on instead of sitting back, leaving them vulnerable for Sporting KC who will look to catch the Union on the counter.