417… 507? Somewhere in between?
Welcome to Pitch Pit. Your published-especially-randomly-in-the-summer-months series that focuses on a particularly significant matchday battle between a Sporting Kansas City player and a guy in the other color.
Kansas City (last place in the Western Conference) comes into tonight’s game – 7:33pm kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park – just looking for some positives, people! Its fans… just something to cheer about as their team has not scored in 417 straight minutes and is reeling at home with five straight losses.
The road to joy and high-fives and celebrations with and within the crowd goes through the midfield.
The enemy LA Galaxy have what amounts to a five-man midfield in their 4-2-3-1 setup and a new man in the middle. The 9th place Galaxy are fighting to push over the playoff line with a game in hand (in some cases, two) on their competition.
But Sporting have a new man in the middle too.
Wheres and What they Gots
In three appearances thus far in all competitions since his acquisition June 23rd, Thommy has shown lots of forward-thinking mixed with a more refined skillset and vision than others at the left #8 for Sporting. He has also played on the right wing. How high is the German’s ceiling? At the prime age of 27 and 96 appearances in the Bundesliga under his belt, his best could be yet to come.
Brugman, acquired on July 6, has paired with Mark Delgado in a double pivot for Greg Vanney’s Galaxy, playing on the right side in his three appearances in all competitions thus far. The Uruguayan has broad experience in Italy’s top-flight and the second divisions of Italy and Spain.
The stats, despite being for only two league games, reflect the differing role of each player. Thommy’s key passes and lower duel and passing percentages, yet the higher xG reveals his attacking nature. Brugman’s better duel percentage and passing percentage, as well as his interception total reveal that crucial, yet more conservative in going forward defensive midfielder role.
Thommy’s best performance thus far was in Sporting’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal shootout loss on July 27 at Sacramento Republic. Four key passes and an 84.8% pass completion rate revealed the impact the German can have on Sporting’s attack, one that needs a boost.
Brugman’s July 30 performance at FC Dallas gained him a 7.2 player rating, the second highest for LAG in their 1-0 loss.
If Thommy can attract Brugman’s attention and keep him from aiding in shutting down Sporting’s wingers Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell, Thommy will have been effective and won the battle.
However, Thommy will need to be quick to shut down Brugman spraying the ball around to the Galaxy’s attackers.
Ideally, Thommy opens his MLS account with a long-distance strike, or at least gains his first assist or two and helps Kansas City break through on the attack and end that 417 minutes without scoring streak.