Sounders FC (3-3-5) vs. Sporting Kansas City (1-5-1)
Saturday, May 21, 7 p.m., Qwest Field, Seattle, Wash.
Dual broadcast: KONG-TV 6/16, 97.3 KIRO FM (Arlo White and Erin Mayovsky)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Geoff Gamble
KEY SPORTING K.C. PLAYERS
F Teal Bunbury — An emerging star in the league, perhaps also with the U.S. men’s national team. Has made five starts in a row, but hasn’t scored in four games. This will surely be an emotional weekend for him after hanging out with his good friend Steve Zakuani on Friday. We’ll see how that translates on the field.
M Davy Arnaud — The only player that has started all seven games for K.C. The 30-year-old veteran has no goals or assists this season, but provides leadership and stability. He also scored the only goal in his team’s only win against Sounders FC, way back in April of 2009.
D Roger Espinoza — The 24-year-old Honduran can be a dangerous option pushing up the left flank. Has played as a midfielder, so he adds that dynamic. Also has experience with his national team . Generation Adidas grad was been a good pick-up in the 2008 SuperDraft.
Kei Kamara vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — The personable forward from Sierra Leone is also an impressive offensive threat. His three goals and two assists are each tied for team-highs. El Presidente has been close to regaining his all-star form. I think he could get there in not too long.
Fredy Montero vs. Julio Cesar — The Colombian DP has been involved in scoring plays the last six games and knows he has to lead. Still due for a breakout game. Cesar is a 32-year-old Brazilian that has traveled the world it seems. The resume includes Real Madrid, A.C. Milan and others.
Expected to win vs. expected to lose — There’s no doubt that nearly every unbiased prognosticator would pick Seattle to win this one. Sigi Schmid acknowledged that a “nothing to lose” mentality from the visitors could be dangerous. Pressure will only continue to mount on the Sounders if they’re not winning late.
It would be a huge plus if Mauro Rosales and Erik Friberg are able to go for Seattle. Either way it’s hard to see the motivated hosts not controlling the run of play. But will the Sounders be able to finish their chances?
Kansas City has certainly made things interesting this year. The guys formerly known as Wizards lead the league in goals per game (1.57), but also rank last in goals allowed per game (2.43). Should make for a lot of chances, no?
I think an early away goal wakes up the beast.
Sounders FC 2, Sporting Kansas City 1
KC — Bunbury (Milos Stojcev) 9′
SEA — Montero (Rosales) 31′
SEA — Alvaro Fernandez (Montero) 44′
* * *
What do you think? How do you see it playing out?