The Quakes and SKC meet amidst the dog days of summer: the Quakes are trying to turn their season around, and SKC are trying to keep ahead of their rivals as they chase MLS titles. Nerdy Gales posed three questions to the SKC blog, and in return answered three of the their questions over at the Blue Testament blog.
1) After four games in ten days, the Sporting KC squad must be verging on exhaustion, so how will they muster the energy to take on the Earthquakes? What's the latest on Zusi -- will he be available to relieve the pressure on Wednesday night?
On Tuesday at training Peter Vermes said he had not decided on Zusi quite yet. It is possible he will be available, but would likely be on the bench, if so. It sounded like he may even be partially basing that decision on the status of other players who have picked up minor injuries. Soni Mustivar seems to be one of those players and is questionable with a groin strain.
So yes, there is some fatigue. Feilhaber, Mustivar and Ellis have gone the full 90 the last three matches (Nemeth has as well except for one sub for 15 minutes) and then there is Besler who has gone the full 90 the last 23 matches. Somebody has to be rested in this match, would imagine.
But to answer the question of how they will muster the energy, Sporting Fit is the motto of this team. So make no mistake.. the XI that PV throws out there will be ready to do their job. He has used his substitutions very well this year and if somebody is dragging ass they will be swiftly replaced. The depth of this team continues to surprise every week. So despite the busy schedule, Sporting KC will be confident they can pull out a result.
2. I just read your stat from Sunday's amazing comeback win over Vancouver -- that with former Earthquakes player Jacob "The Answer" Peterson on the pitch, SKC were 4-1 up, having been 0-2 down with him on the bench. How did he end up with that nickname, and is he (or not)?
Give me a second while I celebrate the fact that somebody actually asked a question about Jake.
*Whips..... nae naes*
Jacob Peterson is that guy that every team needs. Ideally he wouldn't start. But he has an insane work ethic, he will kill himself for the team and he can play anywhere on the field. Over the last few years, Sporting KC has been ravaged by injuries and international call ups. Any time there has been a question about what Vermes would do, he has always had The Answer. Need a fullback? Jake was the answer. Need a midfielder? A winger.... a striker even!? Jake was the answer. He can be a defensive substitution, or if PV needs fresh legs getting forward, he has The Answer I tell you! He is great in the clubhouse and Dom Dwyer can be heard at anytime chanting "JAKE JAKE JAKE JAKE"!
But in all honesty, there are PLENTY of people in KC who are tired of the guy. As I said, a team trying to win trophies wouldn't really want him to start every game. But Peterson has seen a lot of minutes up front this year. He's failed to finish a few chances and well, he isn't Graham Zusi, which is frustrating to some fans. I personally love having him around. He will do something noteworthy every game whether it's a weird assist or he may get mad and let fly every obscenity under the sun. It is unfortunate the team has needed so much from him, but he is a great back up.
3. Sporting KC has three and four games in hand over the Whitecaps and the Galaxy respectively, so you must be feeling really good about the run for the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield. SKCs final game of the season is against the Galaxy - are they your biggest competition for the title(s)?
Yes, times are good right now! Sporting KC have the US Open Cup Final on the Sept 30 and still remain in the hunt for both MLS trophies as well. That being said, it is still an uphill battle for the Supporters' Shield. Two-thirds of the remaining schedule will be played away from home. Vancouver has a fairly easy schedule to finish the season and the Galaxy have obviously become more even dangerous with the additions of Steven Gerrard and Giovanni Dos Santos.
SKC are entering a pivotal few matches, but that final game against the Galaxy at Sporting Park is going to be absolutely huge either way. I would say LA is the biggest threat to take the SS and the winner could very well be decided that final day of the season. Then of course, anything can happen in the playoffs. But right now, just the prospect of contending for all three trophies gives me the butterflies.
(4-3-3) Tim Melia, Amadou Dia, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Chance Myers, Amobi Okugo, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson
Sporting Kansas City 1 - 1 San Jose Earthquakes