For this week's Prep Talk, I spoke with Pro Soccer Talk and MLSSoccer.com writer Joe Prince-Wright.
How do you think the Dynamo will respond on Sunday after two consecutive home losses?
"These guys have been playing well as of late its just been a few little things that have let them down, losing their two central defenders (Boswell & Taylor) is going to hurt them big time on Sunday. Bobby Boswell is out from the suspension so that’s going to hurt their chance of getting anything out of Sunday’s game and I think just mentally trying to bounce back from those two defeats. Looking back at the stats, they haven’t lost two straight games since about this time last year. A lot of those players come in a bit younger. People like Brad Davis are going to really have to lift the whole squad and try to get a positive result. As you know already too well, they’ve done pretty well against Sporting KC the last few years especially in the playoffs so when it’s a big game they rise to the occasion against Sporting. I don’t know why that is but maybe it’s the trait Dominic (Kinnear) and his teams, the way he sets them up, the aggressive nature, and hearing Brad Davis speak this week, he said the guys are really fired up for this game. Practices have been really intense. I’d expect them to come out fired up. He said the two losses are something they’re not used to."
What are your thoughts on Sporting KC's recent form and how they look heading into Sunday's match?
"I think they need to score early, they need to score first. Whenever they’ve done that, at home especially then they put the other team on their back foot straight away. I think the longer the game goes on at 0-0 or maybe tied 1-1 then it’s going to be difficult for Sporting to break down Houston because they’re not going to get hammered by anybody, they’re a very good team defensively. I think Kei Kamara is going to be a very pivotal man in Sunday’s battle. He’s maybe got back into the swing of things now and if he can pop out with an important goal, Sunday would be a great time to do it. And like you said I think Sporting have been playing very well and they obviously need the win to keep up with the pace onto New York. I think for Sporting the key is to score first and score early."
What’s do you think has added to the growing rivalry and what makes these matches entertaining between these two sides?
"I think personally I love to see two teams leave everything out on the pitch. You’ve got two managers who demand 100% effort from their players. Don’t get me wrong they’re very talented players but they are a team first. Unity, teamwork, commitment, that’s the main task for both teams and it’s going to be an entertaining game because both sides aren’t used to losing and aren’t used to giving up either. In the last couple years, especially the playoffs, it’s added an extra spice to it and now with Montreal doing well and New York. The Red Bulls seem to think they’ve got their act together. There are at least three or four other really good teams battling with Houston and Sporting so it’s going to be a great game and I think it will set a precedent for the rest of the season. Whichever team wins on Sunday could go on a good run. Houston were unbeaten for 5 games before losing the last 2 and I’d expect them to push Sporting all the way."
How do you think that’s going to affect Houston and how they’ll play with possibly missing their two central defenders?
"Yeah I mean it’s going to affect them big time. They’ve got people coming in with some experience but those two have been there for a long time but so they know the team inside out and they know exactly what to do. Those two players are really pivotal. That’s the main thing for Houston. When you think of Houston you think of defensive solidity and a team that’s not going to give up very many goals."
"It’s not easy but I don’t know which way it’s going to go whether the guys coming in can step up and prove themselves or it’s going to have the adverse effect. I don’t know really but I think Sporting have the advantage in a sense that Houston’s best defenders won’t be playing."
What do you expect to see from Sunday's match?
"I have to admit I'm going with Sporting for the win. I think they just have too much going forward and with Houston's makeshift backline I think there's no way Houston are going to keep a clean sheet. But with that said, the first goal is all important. Sporting really need to come out, score early, and get the crowd going behind them. Mentally, I think Houston are in a bit of bad place right now after two straight losses and I'm not sure their younger players know how to deal with that. I think they are there for the taking. Sporting KC just need to force the issue early on, get as many chances, and put the ball away."
Sporting KC's 1-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12th provided a great example for how to make a goal line clearance.
The WRONG way to make a goal line clearance.
The RIGHT way to make a goal line clearance.
Sporting KC will host the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon in what is expected to be an intense and fierce matchup. The Dynamo are winlesss in their three previous regular season matches at Sporting Park.
The Dynamo will miss at least one of their central defenders as Bobby Boswell received a red card and addtional match suspension after the New England match. Jermaine Taylor, the other starting central defender, is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Players listed as out and unavailable are Calen Carr, Omar Cummings, and Cam Weaver. Outside of the back line, the rest of the squad isn't expected to change much from Houston's two previous matches.
Houston are coming off back-to-back home losses against Sporting KC and the New England Revolution. This is rare for a team who has been very consistent in the last few seasons and generally able to bounce back quickly from losses. The Dynamo have consistently been able to grind out results against Sporting KC so recent form isn't necessarily a good prognosticator for Sunday's match. As in most of their home matches, Sporting KC should have the majority of possession but the Dynamo have proven an ability to score on set pieces and counterattacks.
Brad Davis - The midfielder has had at least four goals and 12 assists in his last four MLS seasons.
Corey Ashe - The experienced left back was recently selected to the U.S. National Team.
Giles Barnes - A skillful attacking player who provides a different look from fellow forward Will Bruin.
|May 12th vs Sporting KC||May 18th vs NE Revolution|
Sporting Kansas City hosts the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, marking the second time in two weeks that the two clubs will compete. On Tuesday, Sporting KC will open their 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign versus the Des Moines Menace. In honor of Memorial Day on Monday, Sporting KC would like to open a forum for active military, veterans and family members to share a time when their military service and soccer has crossed paths.
Submit a memory for the chance to win tickets to either of Sporting Kansas City's next two matches as we honor our armed forces for their commitment to our country and celebrate their support of Sporting Kansas City. Winners will be notified via the contact information provided and some of the best stories will be selected for publication on SportingKC.com.
Sporting Kansas City will be looking for their second consecutive regular season win over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon at Sporting Park. What will be key factors, matchups, and players for each team? To find out, check out a video preview of Sunday's match featuring MLSSocer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle.
Sporting Kansas City will face the Houston Dynamo for the 17th time MLS (regular season) on Sunday afternoon. It's the second of three meetings between the two sides in the 2013 regular season and only at Sporting Park
Sporting KC won the last meeting between the two sides, a 1-0 result at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12. It was Sporting KC's first win at Houston since 2006.
MLS regular season Head To Head
Home Matches: 2-3-3 (10 goals scored, 9 goals conceded)
Away Matches: 2-3-3 (8 goals scored, 12 goals conceded)
|Sporting KC||Stat||Houston Dynamo|
|Claudio Bieler 6||GOALS||Bruin/Barnes 4|
|Graham Zusi 4||ASSISTS||Davis/Sarkodie/Bruin 3|
|Claudio Bieler 36||SHOTS||Giles Barnes 30|
|Aurelien Collin 26||FOULS||Bobby Boswell 15|
|Jimmy Nielsen 24||SAVES||Tally Hall 28|
|Jimmy Nielsen 0.77||GAA||Tally Hall 1.00|
|Sporting KC||Houston Dynamo|
|Shots (on goal)||182 (54)||153 (52)|
|Fouls Committed (Suffered)||196 (181)||136 (135)|
|Duels Won (Avg)||52.2%||50.3%|
|Completed Passes (Avg)||429||399|
|Passing Accuracy (Avg)||76.2%||75.7%|
Last 10 MLS regular season matches
|07/18/2012||1-0||L||BBVA Compass Stadium|
|05/12/2013||1-0||W||BBVA Compass Stadium|
Sporting Kansas City central defender Matt Besler joined Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on The Border Patrol this morning. The guys discussed an array of topics ranging from the incorrect offside call at D.C. to playing the Houston Dynamo twice in two weeks.
While Besler will be available for selection for Sunday's rematch against the Dynamo, the Kansas native with miss Sporting KC's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third round match on Tuesday. Besler departs KC to join the U.S. Men's National Team in Cleveland on Monday morning.
After discussing the international selection, the guys ended the morning segment with a little movie chatter. Click here to listen to the full podcast and get to know Bes' taste in motion pictures.
Goalkeepers writing books is becoming a bit of a trend in Kansas City. Jimmy Nielsen recently released "Welcome To The Blue Heaven: Don't Bet Against the Goalkeeper" but he wasn't the first Kansas City goalkeeper to do so. Back in 2008, Kevin Hartman released a children's book entitled "Boots Saves The Day."
Hartman must have been foreshadowing Nielsen's arrival in Kansas City. The front cover of his book looks eerily similar to Nielsen making a diving save in goal.
Be sure to join Nielsen in the Shield Club after Sunday's match against the Houston Dynamo to get your copy of "Welcome to the Blue Heaven" signed by the goalkeeper himself.
Photo credit: Necessary Exposure
Sporting Kansas City's third round match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is now set. We knew the date: Tuesday, May 28. We knew the location: Sporting Park. And now we know the opponent: Des Moines Menace.
- TICKETS: Buy now at Ticketmaster.com or Sporting Park Box Offices
But how well do you know the opponent? Find out more below as Sporting Kansas City begins their defense of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship.
- The Menace were founded in 1994 and are currently competing in their 20th season this year.
- The team plays in the Premier Development League, the highest level of amateur soccer in the U.S.
- The Menace are one of four PDL teams remaining in the tournament, along with Sporting KC's pre-season hosts FC Tucson.
- Des Moines defeated the Madison 56ers 1-0 in the first round of the tournament before eliminating Minnesota United FC with a 1-0 victory last night.
- Des Moines are making their fourth straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup in 2013.
- Sporting Kansas City and Des Moines have met on two previous occasions in the U.S. Open Cup. In 2005, Kansas City recorded a 6-1 victory in the Round of 16 before meeting again a year later with KC advancing with a 2-1 win in the Round of 32. Those two games mark the team's only competitive matches against an MLS team in club history.
- Tuesday's match at Sporting Park will be the Menace's first match in an MLS venue in club history.
- Des Moines is 10-7 all-time in the U.S. Open Cup, including a 6-5 mark against professional teams and a 4-3 record in road matches.
- Head coach Mike Jeffries is in his first season with the club. Jeffries is the former manager of FC Dallas (2001-2003) and won two Open Cup titles while an assistant with the Chicago Fire (1998, 2000). Prior to joining Des Moines, Jeffries was a scout for the U.S. Men's National Team under Bob Bradley. As a player, he was the 1993 NCAA Player of the Year at Duke and made three appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team.
- Speaking about the chance for Des Moines' amateur players to take on Sporting Kansas City's professionals, Jeffries told the Des Moines Register: “They’re young, and you have some games that mean a lot and provide opportunities to do things that are new and unique for them, and this is one of those games."
- Upon taking the job, Jeffries said: "Making a run in the Open Cup and trying to get to the third round or more where we get an opportunity to play teams at higher levels is going to be very important.”
- Defender Brandon Fricke serves as the Des Moines Menace captain and is a former member of the Sporting KC Academy, playing for the U18's as recently as 2010. He scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the team's second-round win on Tuesday.
- Goalkeeper Scott Angevine has earned shutouts in each of the team's first two U.S. Open Cup matches. He was an MLS League Pool Goalkeeper in 2012 based with Sporting KC and he participated in Sporting KC's 2012 and 2013 pre-seasons. He is a Kansas City native (Blue Valley Northwest alum) and former member of the Kansas City Brass.
- Twenty-four of the 32 players announced on the Menace roster have NCAA Division I experience.
- Des Moines will play at the St. Louis Lions in PDL play at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 25 before coming to Kansas City for the Open Cup match-up.
The Sporting KC Show aired live from The Futbol Club Eatery and Tap last night with hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards once again behind the mics for the weekly show on Sports Radio 810 WHB. But it was Sporting KC goalkeeper and team captain Jimmy Nielsen that stole show with his guest appearance which drew more than 100 fans to the new business.
Listen to the podcast of last night's show on 810whb.com, which also featured an interview with Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis ahead of Sunday's rematch at Sporting Park. A limited number of tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com and at the Sporting Park Box Offices.
Nielsen was also the subject of the Kansas City Star's live chat on Tuesday, taking questions from readers on a wide variety of subjects after the team's training. Fans can find the full transcript of that Q&A online at KansasCity.com. And, as always, fans can fire questions at him on Twitter at @PumaNielsen1.