This pair of St. Louis natives has one word for visiting western Missourians: Boo! (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Well now, it would appear that Sporting Kansas City is back on top of the Eastern Conference. So hey, Goliath, don't mind this thing I've got swinging from my hand. And this little Orange grenade I'm putting into the end of it? Really. Just a meaningless detail.
The Houston Dynamo will have played a first-place team three times this season and have only lost once. Dynamo beat San Jose 1-0 in their dinky little place back in April, fell to the D(amned)C United at RFK April 28, and then of course bested DC United 4-0 here this past Sunday. And if you throw in the 0-0 draw with the Sporks back at Livestrong on July 7, the 1-0 win over DCU in the BBVA Compass Stadium opener, then Dynamo have been 3-1-1 against first place squads. Not too shabby.
And tonight, they get to do it all over again as first place SKC comes a'calling to The Cage at 7:30 p.m. The game will be on Fox Sports Houston and Multimedios on the idiot box and SportsTalk 790 and La Ranchera 850 on the raddio (Daddy-o).
As Geoff Cameron will probably still be on a conference call with his friends in Stoke-Upon-Trent during the game, we turn our attention to the injury list. Adam Moffat has been listed as questionable with a right adductor sprain. And while Steve Davis, for one, seems to think Ricardo Clark's arrival is imminent on these shores, it can't come fast enough for first kick tonight, so I expect to see Nathan Sturgis in the defensive midfield role.
As for the rest, as well as video, go below the fold...
That gives us this projected line-up:
So, in other words, no big surprises. So let's take a quick look at the film of the July 7 game:
I show you that because that is exactly what I expect to see at BBVA Compass Stadium tonight, a tough and tight defensive battle. If you read the Q&A I did with The Daily Wiz, I hope you take note of a couple of important stats: SKC leads the league, having only surrendered 17 goals all season. But also, as Justin Mayhugh points out, they also lead the league in shots with 307, though have only tallied 25. And the key culprit here is someone we know all too well, Kei Kamara, who has fired the ball in anger 74 times, but only scored six!
And SKC's offensive woes might just continue. Check out this injury report on those guys:
OUT: DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); GK Jon Kempin (R ankle fracture); QUESTIONABLE: FW Jacob Peterson (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: DF Korede Aiyegbusi (R knee sprain); FW Bobby Convey (L calf strain); FW Kei Kamara (L knee contusion); DF Lawrence Olum (L groin strain); MF Graham Zusi (R quad strain)
With Kamara and Zusi possibly hampered, SKC might just struggle. I fully expect the Dynamo defense to continue its tough form, frustrating an offense that has known its share of offensive frustration. In the meantime, SKC will not be afraid of our new focus on speed, noted in the Chronicle today by JdJO. The question is, will Dynamo be able to harness its speed and use it in a disciplined fashion against one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best.
Before issuing my prediction, let's listen to what the Dynamo themselves have to say:
Boilerplate stuff, but still, they seem to be aware of the challenge ahead. My expectation is that, yes, Dynamo will crack that western Missouri nut, and crack it twice. If Cameron gets off his conference call long enough to put his career on the line and play tonight, then I'd predict another clean sheet. However, I don't see that happening, and with Moffat probably sidelined and Sturgis in the game, I think SKC will score at least once.
Prediction: Dynamo win 2-1. What's your's?