Saturday, July 28, 2012

Predictions: KC v Crew

The Crew are down in KC tonight to take on Sporting. Games Starts 8:30 PM EST, 7:30 PM Central, and 9:30 PM local time in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

• Crew just played KC a couple weeks ago at home and lost.
• Unconfirmed report: Milovan Mirosevic and Danny O'Rourke didn't make the trip for Columbus
• KC missing big names this week: Aurélien Collin (face factures), Roger Espinoza (Olympics), and Chance Myers (groin).
• Crew club disruption due to new high profile signing (Fredrico Higuain) last night.

PREDICTIONS knew something others didn't last week (odds on Crew win) so we'll start with them. Leaning heavily towards a KC win. Looking like 1:0 or 2:0 for Sporting. Normal likelihood odds of draw in MLS (11/4).

Drew Epperley at WV Hooligan has it as a 1:0 KC win. "Columbus will keep this one tight but I don’t like their chances on the road," says Mr. Epperley. game preview scribe Zac Lee Rigg isn't calling the game and not enough voting on the fan vote to call this one anything other than close.

"Kansas City's quality in attack will give them a victory in front of a big home crowd." - Aaron Katzeman, Massive Report game preview. There is some optimism in the fan poll this week, but not enough votes to clearly call it.

WinDrawWin is gushing with Sporting! 56% chance of win for KC. Highest I've seen this year.

On top of covering the Higuain signing, Adam Jardy takes the time to peer into the crystal ball enough to call this one a Draw. He says it'll happen "if the Crew can eliminate the mistakes that hindered" the Crew last time out against KC.

Side note... buy the Dispatch paper, the website is atrocious. Michael Arace has a good piece on Higuain in today's paper as well.


Looks like this one is leaning greatly towards KC. I'm not sold.

KC is a very stout club this year. Only 21 players have seen MLS league minutes for them (best in the league) compared to 26 for Columbus (25 is league median). The reason I mention this is because, well...

Stability: teams with concrete starting lineups and healthy players win in this league. Sporting, RSL, Chicago, Houston all keep the number of guys seeing minutes down (less than 23) and are near the top of the table.

Unstable teams (teams that wrongly throw people at a problem, ie. losing): Montreal, Philly, Portland, Dallas (all have had 27+ players see MLS minutes).

Columbus falls slightly on the poor side of stable. Staying healthy isn't by luck. It's through proper training and having the right trainers, physicians and doctors (available or on staff). I despise the phrase "caught the injury bug". I also despise the fact that Columbus has chosen the wrong time to get experimental with their lineups even when enough players are available to back fill positions.

The lineup experimentation Warzycha and Co. has created a degree of instability with this year's club. You can see that in the game to game level of play. For example: their level of play two weeks ago vs. KC wasn't poor but the lineup change directly lead to both the loss (2 goals off mistakes) and to injury (Benardo Anor and almost Josh Williams).

Were this anywhere but in KC, I would expect a draw or Crew win because KC are missing three of their key cogs. But that wishful thinking and doesn't get us anywhere. Just like I wish Columbus would make a impactful signing instead of one with too many questions as to the quality of player.

As it is, this game is at home for KC. Blue Hell, as they say. I expect a handcuffed Crew and a KC win. Going to take some individual Crew brilliance to, at the very least, pull this one up to a draw.

Justin Meram has been close and his confidence is returning. Eddie Gaven is in form. Emilio Renteria has looked great playing out wide in a Reserve match and against Stoke. Are Aaron Horton and/or Ben Speas going to get a chance to be special again?

Whose it going to be?

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