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Three questions with The Blue Testament

We spoke with Cody Bradley of The Blue Testament, SB Nation’s Sporting Kansas City blog, about the upcoming match between the Union and SKC.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Brotherly Game) The last time our teams met, we watched as Sporting Kansas City took home the 2015 U.S. Open Cup trophy. How does this team differ from the one that we saw then?

Cody Bradley, The Blue Testament) The difference is a glorious lack of Krisztian Nemeth. The winger positions in Peter Vermes' 4-3-3 have been a rotating cycle of let downs. Graham Zusi has not put up the numbers of a DP once again, Brad Davis and Justin Mapp have both struggled with fitness and also failed to supply the needed offensive bite, and sophomore Connor Hallisey is apparently never, until the end of time, going to score a goal. Jacob Peterson is the only guy to step up, but he is not going to replace Nemeth, or even come close.

tBG) Can you speak to Peter Vermes' strategy of seeming to rest his regular starters against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League play?

TBT) For me it is tough to even call it resting players. This all came in the midst of a horrible stretch where the team played five matches in 15 days and traveled something like 16,000 miles. On top of all that, there were countless injuries and suspensions. They were in a very odd situation with half the team in one city and the other half elsewhere, then a couple of guys would fly back to KC and others would travel to meet the squad somewhere.

Last weekend, before the CCL match on Tuesday, SKC also played the Caps in MLS. For that match, KC had two guys on suspension and more injuries than I ever learned to count. PV was forced to play anyone he had available in that match. That meant guys like Feilhaber and Zusi would not be available for the midweek match.

But I do think the fact that MLS is valued higher did play a small role. The margins are very thin in MLS right now and a few more poor matches could slide KC out of a playoff spot. Moreover, Vancouver was in the middle of a terrible stretch themselves. I think that PV believed he could start a couple bench players, as well as give a first team opportunity to some Swope Park Rangers, and still earn the result he needed.

Some fans would tell you that KC punted in the CCL, and a brief look at lineups would indicate so, but I don't see it like that by any means.

tBG) Like most MLS teams, SKC has not fared well on the road this season, winning only two while losing seven and drawing four and conceding 16 goals. What is the reason for the poor defensive showing away fro home?

TBT) Away from home, I don't see the issue as defense. They have conceded 30 goals on the season so about half have come in away matches. I blame that poor record on inability to finish chances. Too many times on the road they have put themselves in a position to get the draw or even a win, but they can't put the game away. They create the chances, they get in dangerous spots, hell they even dominate some of these away matches. But they fail to put away too many chances and leave the door open for home teams to sneak in a goal.

But don't get me wrong, there are holes and inexperience in the defense. Mistakes and bad passes have led to several dropped points in both home and away matches.

Injuries, suspensions, etc.) Kevin Ellis is on suspension. Tim Melia, Justin Mapp, Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic are all OUT. Ike Opara is listed as doubtful.

Predicted lineup: Alec Kann, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Matt Besler, Lawrence Olum, Jimmy Medranda, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Brad Davis

For our three questions with The Blue Testament, follow this link.