So if you missed part one of my MLS Cup Preview you can check it out here.
To continue with my look at he matchups-
- Midfield – This one is tough as it depends on where Graham Zusi lines up, if he is in the midfield it is fairly even, but if he is up top as a forward then an edge to RSL. Another key factor is which Benny shows up, if the Feilhaber of the regular season shows up then RSL is in good shape, if the guy who has stepped up in the playoffs is there, then it becomes a better battle. Let’s be honest, Kyle Beckerman is better than Oriol Rosell, Ned Grabavoy is better than Benny over the course of the season, Luis Gil is better than Peterson Joseph and Javier Morales and Zusi are a wash. Yeah I am saying edge to RSL.
- Forwards – Edge RSL – A healthy Alvaro Saborio is a difference maker unlike anyone that Sporting can offer up, now Claudio Bieler is a damn good forward but his form of recent has been less than ideal. RSL can also offer up a very in form Robbie Findley, who had 6 regular season goals along with subs like Olmes Garcia with 5 goals, 4 assist in less than 1,000 minutes, or Devon Sandoval with 3 goals in under 900 minutes in the regular season, oh and Joao Plata. On the SKC side, I actually like Teal Bunbury and CJ Sapong but they seem to be a bit lost without Kei Kamara in the formation. Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer are wildcards but I give the edge here to RSL.
- Intangibles – Edge SKC – I get the home field advantage but SKC was just 9-5-3 at home, not exactly dominating, but their 29 to 15 edge in goals scored was very impressive. Sleeping in your own bed vs a hotel can be a big difference maker, but I imagine some of the weather issues may negate a bit of the home field advantage. Clearly the SKC front office did their part to try and stack the crowd with as many home fans as possible and it is hard to blame them for that. One advantage RSL will have is experience, it is possible that 6 starters from the 2009 MLS Cup could be in the staring XI for RSL on Saturday (Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, and Robbie Findley), I don’t believe any SKC players have played in a MLS Cup before.
- Overall – RSL – I know you will say that is a homer pick, but I think Sporting is a damn good team, however they aren’t the same team without Kei Kamara as they are with him. Without that spark SKC just seems to be lacking that special factor, for RSL when Sabo went out with an injury it took just minutes for Devon Sandoval to step up and deliver big time results in big matches. Unless someone does that for SKC on Saturday then I expect that RSL will win this match. 2-1