Sporting Kansas City will look to gain some very valuable momentum this weekend as they travel to Los Angeles. The last time Sporting was able to take 3 points from anybody was in the Home Depot Center against Chivas USA in the opening match of the season; which seems like an eternity ago as Sporting have only one point in their last 5 matches.
Sporting will look to regain form and fitness this week and can expect to see Ryan Smith either make his first start or get significant minutes coming off the bench. Also, it is possible for Sporting’s designated player Omar Bravo to make his return this week although he is much more likely to return next week.
The starting 11 for Sporting should be similar to their last match vs. New York. This has Jimmy Nielson as the starting goalkeeper. The backline would consist of Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Julio Cesar, and Roger Espinoza. I would say that Matt Besler has played better so far this year, however, the club recently put up an article on their website stating that the pairing of Collin and Cesar will probably remain for the near future.
In the midfield I would expect to see captain Davy Arnaud, Graham Zusi and Milos Stojcev start. I think that Stephane Auvray and Craig Rocastle will both be on the bench to start the match and it’s likely that at least one will be used.
At forward, Sporting have a chance to mix up the starting 11 for the first time in a while. This is due to Ryan Smith being healthy after the bye week and his play in the last match againt the Red Bulls. More than likely it will be Smith, Teal Bunbury, and Kei Kamara starting and rookie C.J. Sapong will come off the bench for the first time in his young MLS career.
This is a very important match for Sporting as they have been dropping points in matches that they shouldn’t and now need to dig themselves out of a hole that keeps getting bigger and bigger. When they finally get a chance to play at home, it should be much better in terms of getting points that they aren’t able to while playing away from home.
Prediction 2-1 Los Angeles
(image courtesy of sportingkc.com)