WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: Davy Arnaud #22 of Montreal Impact controls the ball against Daniel Woolard #21 of D.C. United at RFK Stadium on April 18, 2012 in Washington, DC. Montreal Impact tied D.C United 1-1. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Davy Arnaud returns to Kansas City to face his former club, and Sporting KC look for goals to take some pressure off of the defense in the match-up with the expansion Montreal Impact.
That may have been the longest two weeks ever, and perhaps nothing else demands that a twentieth team comes into the league so we don't have to deal with an unbalanced schedule. The opponent coming in is the expansion Montreal Impact, who due to Toronto's catastrophic start, don't appear to be the worst team in MLS, but aren't far from the bottom. For a team coming off a loss for the first time this season, it's a chance to regain the form that took them to the top of the league last month (San Jose has passed them on points, though Sporting Kansas City has a game in hand).
The Return of Davy Arnaud
While I attempt to play down storylines that have no effect on the game, there are some that can't be ignored. When your former captain and arguably the most important Wizard save Preki returns to Kansas City that is an event to take note of. Then again, perhaps being this beloved by a fan-base takes away from the energy of the return. I would prefer something with a little buzz like Marcus Allen returning to play the Raiders or Johnny Damon coming back to KC after taking boatloads of money. Mutual breakups just don't have that same allure as a spectator, but I'll be cheering along with you until he scores a goal then all of my hate will be directed at Arnaud for completely irrational reasons.
A Dearth of Scoring
The beginning of the season has been hard to complain about. When a team starts 7-0-0, the dominance glazed over the fact that the team has been struggling to score. While holding the lion's share of possession, the final third has been a struggle for Sporting KC. This game hopefully offers a respite for the team's offense as Montreal is tied for second worse in the league allowing goals. Relying on set pieces for scoring can only take a team so far, so hopefully something comes together for Sporting that makes the offense equal to the performance being put forth on defense.
A Different Lineup
Michael Harrington returns for the starting lineup for the first time this year as Seth Sinovic is out with a broken hand. The rest of the team might need a shakeup after the lethargic showing in Portland, but perhaps Peter Vermes thinks the week off got the team the energy it needs. I still expect a few changes to the lineup, but where it happens will be a mystery. Any of the trio of Jacob Peterson, Paulo Nagamura, and Teal Bunbury may start as their substitution does not detract from the overall team and in Bunbury's case changes the dynamic of the team's attack as well.
Sporting 2 Montreal 0
Montreal is an expansion club and will struggle this year as most do. The defense has been solid and no change is expected for this game. The two goals is just me being cautious because until they start scoring again, I'll temper my expectations.