Quick thoughts… Timbers US Open Cup Clash in Kansas City
If you’ve listened to Caleb Porter this last week you know that the starting line-ups for these back to back games won’t be the same.
That said the intent is clearly to win, which means some regular starters are likely to get the head nod for both games. How about Kansas City?
In the lead up for Sporting here’s what Peter Vermes and Sal Zizzo had to offer from Kansas City earlier this week.
All told Vermes played the ‘injury card’ and the ‘players away for the World Cup card’; if I didn’t know better I’d consider this was his way to plant the seeds that his own expectations, going in, aren’t that high and that he expects his lads will have to battle hard to defend their home turf.
The challenge for Sporting, like Portland, most probably rests with their defense; Collin has a hamstring injury, Besler is out for the World Cup, and both Myers and Opara are out for the season.
In looking at penetration, into their defending third, Sporting KC Opponents average 74 passes per game this year. That is the lowest average for opponent penetration in MLS this year.
Figure what penetration the Timbers do get will have to have purpose…
For Portland, the defensive numbers aren’t quite as good. The Timbers Opponents average 110 passes, per game this year, within the defending third. That is 7th worst so far this year.
Figure Sporting is likely to gain quite a bit of penetration. With more penetration it is likely they will offer up more shots.
The 3-2 win in Kansas City last year is history and really doesn’t mean anything other than to reinforce what the Timbers already know from this year – they can and do win on the road.
What to watch for may be wing penetration by both teams to try and open up the middle for late runs or shots atop/within the 18 yard box.
The tighter the fullbacks play the quicker the switches need to be in order to gain space – should be a fast paced game with good end-to-end action.
I guess the game is offered on web-stream tonight; I won’t offer a play by play through tweeter but will include my thoughts as I see the game unfolding.