The Union can end SKC’s longstanding home win streak

Philly come off of a huge 3-0 win and face a team who have yet to lose at home this season. Kansas City is 6-0-3 at home this season. The Union can end SKC’s longstanding home win streak.

Both teams are belittled with absences due to the Gold Cup. The Union are without Alejandro Bedoya and Andre Blake; SKC are without Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer due to the competition as well. Kansas City will also be without attacker Gerso Fernandes due to an injury. The Union take momentum with them to Kansas City. While SKC will be able to have other players step up for those out, this is the time for the Union to give SKC their first loss at home.

 

Structure can stifle SKC’s attack:

Sporting Kansas City is a very good attacking team at home. In their last four home games, SKC has scored nine goals and conceded only twice. Stopping this lethal attack will be the key to success in this match for Philly. The back line will have to be up to the highly organized Kansas City attackers. Even without Dwyer and Gerso, SKC will be confident at home. They will want to dictate possession and use their skilled players to break down the Union defense. Benny Feilhaber will pull the strings for Kansas City. His ability to create by passing and shooting make him the most dangerous player on the pitch for Sporting. Luckily, the Union know this.

The Union’s defense will rely on Oguchi Onyewu disrupting Feilhaber. Gooch has done an amazing job in the last few matches at taking away the oppositions playmakers. His play and leadership will create the structure of the Union’s defense. If Gooch is the one to step up and help disrupt the build up attack, then the rest of the back line will need to bunker in and make sure that there are no free runners. Gooch, Derrick Jones and Haris Medunjanin will be tasked with stopping attacks before they become too dangerous. This structure can help create how the Union attack as well.

 

Creating mismatches and taking chances will create attack:

From the defensive structure comes the oppertunities to get numbers forward quicker. If the ball is stopped before hitting the final third, or is disrupted abruptly by the Union they will have to look for the quick strike. The way to score on SKC is by creating mismatches in their final third, and by taking chances when they are given. Countering SKC seems to be one of the very effective ways to score on them. Stopping their attack and then creating mismatches agaisnt their stout defenders gives teams the ability to create chances. The Union’s success will teeter on their ability to win the ball, get it to Haris Medunjanin and have him find the mismatches down the field. The Union did this well agaisnt New England last weekend, and will need to do it again in Kansas City to win. They will also need to take their chances when they come.

The Union have had a lot of chances over the last few matches, but have had trouble putting away good chances. To beat SKC, chances have to be taken when there’s a chance to have one. There can be no hesitation. If there is an opportunity for a shot or key pass, it needs to be taken. Roland Alberg did this last weekend and it put the game away for the Union. Philly will need to take more chances and try to create mismatches to win. So what should we expect from the match?

 

What we should expect:

The Union will need to stay structured and break to start their attacks in such a tough place to play. I expect the Union to lineup like this:

McCarthy; Wijnaldum, Onyewu, Elliot, Gaddis; Jones, Medunjanin; Fafa, Alberg, Pontius; Sapong.
Bench: McGuire, Marquez, Rosenberry, Carrol, Herbers, Najem, Simpson.

This lineup helps the Union structure. It’s a defensive first side looking to snuff out chances and starting counters. Ideally the Union would be happy with a draw in this match. Taking a point home from a difficult opponent would be okay, but if Philly want to keep pace with the rest of the east while they still have games in hand, a win would be better.

 

The Union can end SKC’s longstanding home win streak:

The Union can beat SKC. All they have to do is staying organized defensively, look for mismatches while attacking and make the most of their chances. If the Union can do that to this depleted SKC team they should be able to find a way to take all three points. Failing to do any of these three things will lead to a loss or a tie, which could set the Union back in the eastern conference standings. The Union have always shown well in Children’s Mercy Park, maybe this will be another game to help the Union climb for a successful 2017 campaign.

 

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Follow me on twitter @TGing21 for Soccer Twitter fun! Coming soon: A look back at week 17, 18 and 19 of MLS play, a look back at the winners and losers of the first half of the MLS season and a preview of the US’s Gold Cup Campaign. Until then, peace out!

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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