MLS WEEK 3 PREVIEW:
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS v SPORTING KANSAS CITY
7:00pm – Empire Fields
TV – MLS Direct Kick / Match Day Live
TV Local – KSMO (SKC) / Sportsnet Pacific (VAN)
What to Expect:
Both clubs signed Designated Players who scored a brace on opening weekend. Both DP’s were red-carded in week two. Ouch. No Omar Bravo or Eric Hassli. Where will the goals come from this week?
Both teams are also 1-1 going into this match. For Vancouver it will be a return to Empire Fields, the site of their First Kick thrashing of Canadian cousins Toronto FC. A trip to Philly last weekend was a workmanlike 1-0 loss for this expansion team that seems to sign new players every other day. Omar Salgado has been cleared to suit up for the Caps after the U-20’s and the club has landed US International Alejandro Bedoya who they took in the Supplemental Draft. Vancouver is a work in progress, but I like the way they are shaping up and they could thrill at home this season, while grinding out ugly results on the road.
KC is also a work in progress though the club has been picked by many to go deep into the playoffs. The club beat Chivas USA 3-2 in the opening weekend though the score is deceptive. Kansas City should rightly have routed the goats, but somehow let them slip back into the game. Conversely, in Week 2 the Chicago Fire had a 3-0 lead on KC before halftime when KC showed up and managed two goals playing with 10 men. Peter Vermes’ side is struggling in the defensive end.
This one looks even, but both teams are missing so many players that they will shift their systems. Look for the ‘Caps to play tight and defensive and KC to use Bunbury, Kamara and rookie CJ Sapong in an all out effort to keep the ball as far from their own end line as they can.
Fantasy Player Spotlight
Vancouver: Atiba Harris may be asked to shoulder the scoring load for the ‘Caps in the absence of Hassli, but then again it might be Camilo. Regardless of who starts this match, it will be won or lost for the ‘Caps in the midfield partnership of Terry Dunfield and Gershon Koffie.
Kansas City: Teal Bunbury. He’s been on a run of form to beat the band, but in this league it’s consistency that gets you the low-money Scandinavian League contracts.
For KC look for CJ Sapong to provide a match winning goal while the Whitecap defense tries to mark Teal Bunbury out of the game. For Vancouver, how about this weeks signings? Big defender Mouloud Akloul and American International Alejandro Bedoya. Will either play? I don’t know, but they are both capable of being difference makers.