It’s 79 degrees under sunny skies in Kansas City right now, so it’s no surprise that the guys are in a relaxed state of mind heading into tomorrow night’s match against Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m., The Comcast Network) at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
I suppose the relaxed state of mind comes from having little stress and using the remainder of 2012 to assess the improvements (and changes) for 2013. The same can’t be said by Sporting KC, who have secured a spot in the postseason but are still looking to be crowned champions of the East.
They could do so at the Union’s expense tomorrow night and it’s something that although the collective mood is chill, it’s not a distinction the boys in blue want to add to their resume – considering Houston qualified for the playoffs on the heels of Philly’s lackluster performance.
We caught up with midfielder Michael Lahoud as the team landed in K.C. who said that finishing this season strong is a “necessity.”
“I really don’t want this season to end because I personally have a vendetta,” Lahoud said. “We are playing two teams that we can prove a lot against and when those games are done and we’ve proved it, then I can rest. Right now, I can’t do that.”
A couple of key guys are injured and it’s unknown at this point how that will affect both their play and manager John Hackworth’s preparation. With Kansas City coming out guns blazing, I’d like to think Hackworth – who has always dubbed his formation one that is “attack oriented,”— will also take it to Sporting, especially given the fact that Jack McInerney is in postseason form right now.
Speaking of form (or lack thereof)…
Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza is listed as doubtful in the latest version of the MLS injury report with a right ankle sprain. On Monday, Espinoza told MLSSoccer that “if the game was right now, I couldn’t play.” Well it’s been multiple hours since and K.C.’s playmaker – currently tabbed for a move to Wigan of the English Premier League – is still hobbled according to the latest rundown of hobbled MLSers.
Random thought time…
As we write this, its been realized that the U will play Sporting in LIVESTRONG Park, a $207 million soccer palace, but one that bears the name of a foundation created by ostracized cyclist Lance Armstrong. We wonder if that carries a black cloud given Armstrong is currently dealing with the backlash of an alleged doping scandal. Well, leave it to the internet to answer our question: Considering Livestrong raised a reported $2.38 million for cancer research over this past weekend; we think it’s safe to say that both the foundation and its palatial soccer stadium are doing just fine.
Okay, back to reality…
Speaking of Jack Mac, MLSSoccer.com and CSNPhilly writer Dave Zeitlin dubbed him the club's silver lining. Jonathan Tannenwald’s latest blog post on Philly.com explains the benefit of starting off the season strong. An interesting rundown considering last year when the Union started off strong, the Union made the playoffs, and starting off weak this season has the Union on the outside looking in.
Sure, Tannenwald dares to overstate the obvious, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.
Couple of notices before we let you go for the night…
“The 90th Minute,” SportsRadio 610 WIP-AM weekly soccer program airs tomorrow night with hosts Carl Cherkin live 7-8:00 p.m. from Chickies and Pete’s in Northeast Philly. Co-host Kerith Gabriel will give a live look-in from Kansas City, while Eli Pearlman-Storch and Greg Orlandini from the KYW Soccer podcast will serve as special guests. Also, expect an early edition of “The Daily Doop” prior to gametime as we’ll provide a full rundown of the day’s events in K.C. leading up to gametime.
Catch you tomorrow…
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr