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How you doin'? Sporting Kansas City

Ahead of Saturday's game, I swapped questions with Ben Gartland of SBNation's SKC blog, the excellently and proudly old schooled-ly named The Daily Wiz. so Kansas City, How you doin'?


Waking The Red: How has Kei Kamara fit back into the team since coming back from Norwich? Does he have much of a future at SKC or do you see him moving on permanently in the future?

The Daily Wiz: I don't see him moving this summer but he has the potential to move in later transfer windows depending on who wants or needs him. Since returning from Norwich, he has fit about the same way he did before Norwich, except with better experience. As Peter Vermes said, he is one of the best in the MLS at making runs and being ready for the opportunity as long as someone can give him a chance. I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.

WTR: With the transfer window open, are Sporting likely to be active? Are there specific areas of the
team they'll be improving, or might they go after a big name to try for an MLS Cup?

TDW: It all depends on where they want to keep Graham Zusi. If they want him at a winger spot, then they might go for a midfielder. If they want him back in the midfield, they might go for a winger. I don't really see them going after a big name unless they were to let someone like CJ Sapong or Teal Bunbury go to clear up cap space. I see a depth move in the midfield unless they decided to completely surprise me.

WTR: Michael Thomas, what exactly have TFC got now? He obviously didn't play that much but does he have what it takes to become more than merely a depth player?

TDW: Thomas definitely has the potential to be a quality player for Toronto. He was blocked at the position with Sporting with Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi but could definitely break out with Toronto. It's a similar situation to Bobby Convey where there was too much at the top of the depth chart for him to succeed at Sporting, but Toronto offers a new opportunity to him.

* * * * * * * *

TDW: If the Forlan to Toronto rumors are true, what could he bring to the team to help improve TFC?

WTR: Well he'd clearly be an upgrade on what we've currently got going on up front, even at 34. Fitness won't be an issue as he's currently still playing in Brazil, but there's always the problem of fitting into MLS, look at Marco di Vaio last season and this. The other problem is of course that he'll be trying to do that at TFC, and any of our forwards will tell you that the service they get isn't really all that great. I'd imagine Forlan would be charged with helping out in that respect as well, probably playing as a secondary striker behind Robert Earnshaw or Danny Koevermans.

It would be a very big gamble to bring him in, are TFC really at the stage that they might be good in the 1 1/2, maybe 2 1/2 seasons Forlan could plausibly be playing at a high level? Probably not. He'll sell some shirts though, and if he can help legitimise TFC a bit and attract some other younger players from South America, then that'd be an added bonus.

TDW: How has the Toronto offense had to adjust without Earnshaw the past couple of matches and how will his return impact the match Saturday?

WTR: It hasn't really adjusted all that much, as we never really played to Earnshaw's strengths to start off with. He was never going to do well as the main striker on a team that relies so much on the long ball. Early in the season he pounced on some mistakes, got some penalties and looked really good, since then he's dropped off a bit. Danny Koevermans would play the target man role better if and when he ever gets fully fit, and Jeremy Brockie is a useful bundle of energy which is handy for chasing down balls as much as we ask that of the forwards.

I expect it'll be him and Earnshaw out there, maybe Justin Braun to be the target man if we're planning to bunker and play the long ball, which is very possible. Earnshaw being back does increase the likelihood that we might actually score form one of the few chances we'll get, as well as making sure the SKC defence is on it's toes. All dodgy backpasses gratefully received.

TDW: How would you rate Nelsen's job performance so far? Has he been what you expected or has he been different?

WTR: He's done an ok job really, considering the poisoned chalice he accepted. Off the pitch, he's shown he's his own man, dropping some popular players or those that Kevin Payne brought in with great fanfare, but his post game comments rely way too much on excuses, bad luck, refereeing and so on. On the pitch, he's what you'd expect from a former centre back. He's focused on the defensive side of things and done that reasonably well, 2 holding midfielders has been a constant, with high pressure being the ideal. If that's gone relatively well, there's still plenty of room for improvement up front as TFC struggle to create chances and, 3 goals against Montreal aside, struggle to score. I'm ok with that though, best to get the defence down first, building a foundation is one of Nelsen's favourite soundbites. All in all, for a rookie coach, he's doing alright. I'm cautiously optimistic.

TDW: If you could also give me your predicted lineup and score that would be fantastic. Thank you so much!

WTR: Going right to left - Joe Bendik; Richard Eckersley, Steven Caldwell, Gale Agbossoumonde, Darren O'Dea; Reggie Lambe, Matias Laba, Darel Russell, Bobby Convey; Robert Earnshaw, Jeremy Brockie.
I'll go with a surprise 1-1 draw.

Thanks Ben, and for the full SKC view of the game, be sure to check out the Daily Wiz.