Semi-Finals of 2012 US Open Cup

There are two remaining games in the US Open Cup before the final. That means another round of predictions, albeit a truncated version. With all four teams remaining being MLS clubs, I’m thinking it’ll be an all-out slugfest with top lines from each one making appearances.

So, onto the predictions…

Sporting Kansas City @ Philadelphia Union, 7:30PM (Livestream) — From the start of the 2012 season until now, the paths of Philly and KC have been 100% diametrically opposed. KC kicked off 2012 with seven wins in a row, dominating their opponents through stingy defending and fluid attacking play. Philly only winning two games before the start of Open Cup in late May. But the last two months of competition has seen Sporting go 4-2-2 in all competitions and Philly raising the bar to 5-2-0 in all competitions through the same time. Sporting’s record in June and July doesn’t look that bad at first glance, but consider that two of those wins came against Montreal (a struggling expansion team) and Toronto (the bottom feeders of MLS this year), as well as a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of their opponent tomorrow night. Sporting has been hit or miss lately, struggling to find a way to play consistently and with the attacking flare they exhibited in the first quarter of the season.

Philly has everything on their side:  consistent play, homefield advantage, Freddy Adu is on fire, morale is high. KC will have a tough go of this one. If their midfield is not up to task for the battle they’re about to face, and they have trouble linking up properly with their forwards, I can’t see how they’ll get by a streaking Union side. Jack McInerney is playing the best soccer of his young career, and Adu and Michael Farfan are showing their tenacity and aggressiveness under new coach John Hackworth. Zac MacMath needs to have a solid performance for Philly, though; and their defense needs to make sure they negate CJ Sapong’s and Kai Kamara’s abilities up top. This should be the game to watch. Prediction:  SKC 0:2 Philly

Chivas USA @ Seattle Sounders, 10:00PM (Livestream) — The three-time defending USOC champions Seattle Sounders were on a skid for the last two months, seeing a record of 3-2-3 in all competitions with the only league win during that time coming just last Saturday against Colorado. Seattle’s slump seemed to be ended with a fairly convincing win this past weekend, but questions about their performance still abound:  Will keepers Bryan Meredith or Andrew Weber start in net? Will Eddie Johnson’s scoring streak continue or will he putter out? Will Montero get the start? How will the backline perform? All of these are consistency issues, and it creates a lot of uncertainty with this game.

Chivas, on the other hand, has been extremely consistent… consistently mediocre. Winning only once (against Montreal) in league play since the start of June, they’ve tied two in a row, their last draw (and only game so far in July) coming this past week against Vancouver. We’d be foolish to think that Seattle is not the better team here. But Chivas is no slouch. When all 11 on the field are playing at 100%, they’re extremely threatening, especially on the counter attack. If Jose Correa is performing well, Dan Kennedy is his usual stellar self between the pipes, and their midfield is helping to link up the attack, they’re a team that could knock off anyone.

Seattle is just too good, however. Whether or not they’re officially out of their slump remains to be seen, but they are the odds-on-favorite to win this game. And if that’s true, their fans will be welcoming the Final to Century-Link Field in August for a very good chance of bringing home an unprecedented fourth-consecutive US Open Cup. Prediction:  Chivas 1:2 Seattle

In other related news, US Soccer announced the potential venues for the Finals. You can peep them here.

Also, here are some interesting facts about USOC’s Semi-Finals history.

Enjoy the matches!

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