The San Jose Earthquakes are set to get back in action on Saturday, when they are scheduled to host Sporting Kansas City at PayPal Park. Ahead of the game, to get a sense of how things are going for Sporting at the moment, I spoke with Cody Bradley of SB Nation’s Kansas City soccer site The Blue Testament to get the scoop. Many thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer my questions!
Center Line Soccer asks The Blue Testament:
1. We’re starting to get a sense of how the season is going for teams, so how have things started this season for Sporting?
After everything finally came together for Sporting KC last weekend with a 3-0 win over Vancouver, yes I’m definitely hoping that NOW we have a sense of what this team can do. Prior to that match, SKC was creating a surprisingly low number of chances and things just hadn’t fallen into place yet. Injuries to key players obviously played a major role in this, with Tim Melia, Johnny Russell, & Alan Pulido all missing time. While there are still some injuries to deal with, I think this team found themselves last week. They’ve now seen & felt just how well it can work. So I expect them to build off that win and continue improving as all the youngsters & newcomers get more time on the field.
2. SKC tend to keep a lot of continuity on their roster, but are there notable newcomers this season? How have they started their tenure with the club?
26-year-old Remi Walter has fit in very nicely with SKC in his first few matches. He plays in the midfield and looks like he can be used in a couple different roles, but he’s primarily a defensive midfielder. The Frenchman has a very powerful boot and even takes most free kicks & set pieces when he’s on the field. Another important newcomer is Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. He’s one of two CB’s dealing with injuries at the moment, so his status for Saturday’s match is still up in the air. But when healthy, Izzy is Peter Vermes’ #2 centerback. At 29-years-old (and also French), he has a very nice European football pedigree. It’s safe to say that most fans are generally pleased with both of them so far.
3. What’s been the most notable struggle for Kansas City so far this season? Do you think the Earthquakes can take advantage of it?
Remaining historically accurate, Sporting KC leave themselves open to counter attacks. They like to have the majority of possession and draw a defense out of their own half by moving the ball around the field. But when a hole opens up, numbers start flying forward. The outside backs make overlapping runs and all three midfielders get into the final third. If Sporting KC loses the ball like this, a couple smart passes and some speed can kill them in the blink of an eye.
You can find my answers to Cody’s questions over at The Blue Testament.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.