MLS First Kick 2011: Sporting Kansas City vs. Chivas USA Preview

Posted In Match Previews and Reviews - By Bryan Ashlock On Saturday, March 19th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Jimmy Conrad is set to play his first game for Chivas USA and it will come against his old team, Sporting Kansas City. Conrad was a stalwart in the Kansas City defense for 8 seasons. In fact, Conrad hasn’t played a match against Kansas City since the year 2000. And while that is an interesting sub plot, the more interesting thing to see will be how Sporting Kansas City open the season.

Sporting Kansas City begin the season on a ten game road trip before finally returning home to LiveStrong Sporting Park for it’s grand opening on June 9th. In a game where home field advantage is so important Kansas City must do everything they can to avoid a slow start and win some valuable points from their first ten games and this match against the Goats could be the trendsetter.

Kansas City’s is feeling confident in its second full-season under head coach Peter Vermes and they look much more prepared to execute the uptempo 4-3-3 formation that he favors. The addition of Omar Bravo to the attack should help the development of Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury and add some needed goal scoring after the departure of Josh Wolff. Journeyman central defender Julio Cesar comes in to fill the void left by Conrad and Kansas City will be hoping the Brazilian shows the form that earned him playing time at Real Madrid.

For Chivas USA it has been an off-season of flux. New coach Robin Fraser has brought in twelve new faces to the Goats roster. The aforementioned Conrad will certainly provide stability at the back and he, along with Heath Pearce, will provide veteran leadership for the squad. Despite all those changes Chivas still look they will struggle to score goals. Last season only D.C. United scored less than Chivas. This year the Goats were shutout in five of their eight preseason games. Add that do the rash of injuries affecting the squad and this is going to be a rough opening weekend for Chivas USA.

Sporting Kansas City Player to watch: Omar Bravo. The diminutive Mexican will play his first MLS game tonight and Sporting Kansas City will be counting on him to show the goal-scoring form he displayed for Guadalajara in the FMF. If the thirty-one year old can find a rich vein of form to begin the season it will make SKC’s ten game road trip that much easier.

Chivas USA Player to watch: Jimmy Conrad. Players playing against their former team always have good games right? Conrad was an important player to Kansas City for 8 years and now he’ll be lining up against his old side. Would anyone really be surprised if Conrad scored in this game? I know I wouldn’t be.

Prediction: Chivas USA can’t score and even if Conrad does manage to knock one in against his old club the likes of Omar Bravo, Kei Kamara, and Teal Bunbury will be too much for Chivas. Sporting Kansas City will win 2-1.

About Bryan Ashlock - Soccer aficionado living in Atlanta. Contributor to Cartilage Free Captain, a Tottenham Hotspur blog on SBNation. Follow me on twitter @BryanAshlock

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