Well two national TV matches are coming up tonight and tomorrow night, first up is ESPN2 with a late start time for Sporting Kansas City as they will open up LIVESTRONG Sporting Park by hosting the Chicago Fire, and on Friday night it will be Red Bull Arena taking center stage as the New York Red Bulls will play host to the New England Revolution, but let's focus on what matters:
Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City - 8pm MT - ESPN2
Well after spending their first 10 matches on the road SKC have to be feeling good about going home and being able to open one of the coolest stadiums in MLS but for SKC that only addresses a small issue for the team with the 1-6-3 record. Early in the year they scored multiple goals in 4 of their first 5 matches, but since then they have only 2 goals combined in their last 5 matches. Now I have to say they are playing better defense, they have given up just 1 goal or fewer in 5 of their last 7, perhaps their offense will pick up as Omar Bravo continues to work his way back to full match fitness. The action tonight should be good, both teams have given up 19 goals so far this year, Sporting have scored 12, while the Fire have scored 15.
more after the jump:
For the Fire, they are still looking for their first road win of the 2011 season and their second overall win on the year. Their only win was a 3-2 win over Sporting back on March 26th. They do have 4 draws in their last 5 matches but their are a lot of questions about this team, last week they let go their head coach and now Frank Klopas is in charge. I think there are two things that will impact the match more than anything else, first can the Fire play the spoiler role? SKC's fans, players, and staff will all be a bit star struck with their new stadium, I remember the first ever match at Rio Tinto Stadium and the energy and emotions were so high I think it was hard for the players to focus. A early goal by Chicago could be just what they need to rain on the Sporting parade, well that and the fact that the area is under a tornado watch and there is a 30% chance of thunderstorms in the area.
Second is that for the Fire their most creative player Marco Pappa is on national team duty with Guatemala, I firmly believe that he is the guy who has the talent to be the difference maker on the Fire. Last year he lead the team with 7 goals and 5 assists, in 2011 he has 4 goals and 1 assist, his goal against KC is the only game winning goal that the Fire have this year. Without him a lot will fall on Diego Chaves, who has had moments that make me believe he could be a game changer but so far it has been the lack of consistency that kept him from making a bigger splash.
There simply is no way I can pick against a team opening a new stadium, I have to believe that this one ends up 2-1 for Sporting KC, with goals by Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, and Corben Bone.
OFF MY SOAPBOX