RSL Soapbox) RSL has had a lot of games over the past couple of weeks but Jeff Cassar decided to rest the "preferred XI" against Vancouver on Saturday. How well-rested will Sporting KC's preferred XI be and will it play a factor in the game?
The Blue Testament) Preferred XI is a bit of an abstract concept with this team. With all of the injuries and call ups the last two seasons, it is truly hard to tell the exact 11 sometimes. But everyone should be pretty well rested and ready to go. SKC did not have a midweek game last week and neither Dwyer nor Zusi played the weekend against Toronto (but Zusi's status still up in the air after suffering injury during warm ups on Saturday). PV keeps his troops Sporting Fit so the game four days ago shouldn't affect them. Last time around SKC was terribly depleted so both teams close to full strength should make for a great match.
RSL Soapbox) Benny Feilhaber's intensity level went way up as the game went on the last time RSL and KC met. Is he better when he is more intense or does it make him lose focus?
The Blue Testament) I have to say it makes him better. It gives Benny the audacity to play a crazy through ball or have a shot from 35 yards out. Now, he is generally always pretty intense but there are times when he scores that you can really see it all being let out in the celebration. There is that look in his eyes that makes you feel like there was no way he was going to be denied the whole game.
It also definitely makes the rest of the team better. Vermes and the guys are always talking about "every roll of the ball" and a fiery eyed Feilhaber screaming at you will get you back in the game real quick. When he gets like that, he will go for every single challenge and track back any distance on defense.
The one negative I can think of is with referees. As the intensity rises, respect of the referee declines. It's hilarious and so much fun to watch, but I can't imagine the guy gets too many referees on his side.
RSL Soapbox) RSL looks to be going all in on this tournament. How much is Sporting KC investing in the U.S. Open Cup?
The Blue Testament) SKC is all in as well. Especially only two wins away, and especially against RSL. A look at the Sporting KC Twitter right now is proof of that, as the team is now apparently named #BeatRSL. This team and the fans are always expecting some silverware and this could be the first of multiple trophies this season. The talent is there to make a run at MLS Cup when playoffs come around, but SKC also still boast the highest PPG in MLS in the quest for the Supporters' Shield. So getting another US Open Cup will keep the dream of all three trophies alive.
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