Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City Game Preview: 3 Questions with Trev from Around The League

Ed Zurga

The Drive for Five is Alive! On Saturday night, Captain Davy Arnaud returns to his old stomping grounds with the Impact as they seek to continue their perfect streak and get their fifth win in a row.

With Alessandro Nesta still out due to injury, youngster Karl W. Ouimette should be getting his second consecutive start, especially after impressing in last week's win over the Red Bulls. Sanna Nyassi has returned from international duty and should be available to come off the bench. Zarek Valentin has been loaned out to a 2nd division Norwegian team.

The starting XI should remain unchanged from last week.

To help you get to know the enemy, Mount Royal Soccer hired the services of Trev, the SKC correspondent for the Around The League Soccer Podcast.

Sporting Kansas City was listed as an early season favorite to win the Eastern Conference. They have stumbled out of the game with 1 win and only 4 goals scored in their first 4 games. What has led to these struggles? Do you think that they will be able to bounce back and play up to expectations?

There are a few things that have lead to our plight since the beginning of the season. First, just like most teams, we have new players so everyone still needs to get used to each other. It's not so much an excuse as it is a state of fact. We lost two of our players to the English Premier League and we were still considered a preseason favorite.

We lost one of the most dynamic strikers in the MLS in Kei Kamara to Norwich City, albeit on loan but they have been very impressed and barring injury I expect him to stay. Honduran International Roger Espinoza also changed jerseys. He impressed greatly at the Olympics last summer in London and, without surprise, went to Wigan Athletic over this past transfer window.

Kimara had a higher goal tally and was a more clinical finisher while Espinoza was a tireless, true box to box player who could provide that final pass to create great goal scoring opportunities as well as be a beast on the defensive side of the ball.

New DP forward Claudio Bieler and midfielder Uri Rosell are being counted on to bring SKC out of this funk but they still need time. Rosell has taken over the CDM role that Espinoza had and the future looks bright for the 20 year old former Barcelona B man. I truly believe that if given more time, this will be a team that can score a ton of goals and have one of (if not the best) defenses in the MLS.

Montreal comes into this game at the MLS kings. They have started the season with a 4 game winning streak. How will/should SKC approach this game? What will be their game plan on Saturday night?

They need to play their game. SKC do not care about the venue or the style that the opposing team plays. Look for them to enforce their will and style onto the game and force Montreal into playing a defensive oriented match due to the focus on ball possession and quick passing.

They line up well with most, if not all, teams from set pieces and I do not see why they wouldn't press high up on the pitch and attempt for 60% possession or greater, which will help keep Montreal's scoring opportunities down.


Who should the Impact players worry about the most on Saturday and why? Is there any Impact player in particular that strikes fear into the hearts of the SKC players?

If there is anyone the Impact need to worry about, it would be Bieler. He will be the biggest goal threat. SKC will probably be lining up a different squad against Montreal since two key players, Besler and Zusi, were featured in the epic draw at the Azteca this past Tuesday. As long as GK Jimmy Nielsen, aka The White Puma, is at his post, the defense should be able to give Montreal's best attacking players some nightmares.

As for the player that Sporting needs to worry about, I am going to go with former Kansas City man Davy Arnaud. The Montreal captain will be able to drive and attack in the midfield. If he can maintain possession and help Montreal control the tempo, it will be a HUGE bonus the Impact.

BONUS: Former Impact player Josh Gardner is now a member of SKC. Can you give us some insight on his season so far and what role he has been given with the team this year?

Gardner hasn't really featured for KC this year and expectations are for him to be a bit player/squad rotation man for the many different competitions we are in this year. It is important to have decent squad players that can put in a shift when you are in three competitions.

Predicted formation and starting XI:


Nielsen

Sinovic - Colin - Opara - Jerome
Feilhaber - Rosell - Nagamura
Convey - Bieler - Sapong

Score prediction:

Draw 0-0

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