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Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact: Three Questions with Mount Royal Soccer

I spoke with Sofiane Benzaza of Mount Royal Soccer ahead of Sporting KC's match on Saturday at Sporting Park with theEastern Conference foe, Montreal Impact.

Benny Feilhaber and SKC will look to continue their domination over the Impact on Saturday!
Benny Feilhaber and SKC will look to continue their domination over the Impact on Saturday!
Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

We ask them...

1. Alberto Aquilani has been linked to MLS for some time now, but a move to Montreal may very well be in the works. What are the chances this will happen? How will he fit into the midfield and who might get bumped?

I analyzed the rumor looking where and how Aquilani would fit within the Impact's current squad. With a likelihood score of 7/10, the Serie A veteran fits the profile the club is looking for. As an offensive midfield player / play-maker, he has the qualities to dominate in MLS and thrive in a squad that has quite the offensive flair. With a plethora of midfielders at the club, it almost doesn't really matter who gets bumped. It's going to be very easy to put on paper the spine of the team, that would include Aquilani if he ends up signing.

2. The Impact are below the playoff line right now in 8th place, but have a few games in hand and are coming off a big 3-0 victory stifling the Columbus Crew. Are fans optimistic about the rest of the season? What is the ceiling for this team?

Fans are as optimistic as the club's capacity to sign DP players that are sexy marketing wise. So I would say not very optimistic. But then, when the team plays great soccer and hammers opponents at home, they are very optimistic. So my answer would be : it depends?

Sky's the limit for the club to be honest. The team has such depth and quality in the squad

3. Last year, Montreal was dominated by SKC with 3 losses including a 4-0 drubbing in KC. What kind of tactics might we see from Frank Klopas? What has to go right for the Impact to get a result in front of the Cauldron?

Quick breaks and counter-attacks are what the Impact calls its bread and butter. Even though a drubbing over the weekend is very possible, the defensive schema of the club is much better though the central midfielders are not the bulldogs you would need when it comes time to destroy the other team's style of play. As long as they don't try to open it up too much against Vermes' offensive team, Montreal should survive and depend on a perfect scoring efficiency to get a result out of the Cauldron.

Predictions...

2-1 KC

Bush - Oyongo, Ciman , Cabrera , Toia - Donadel, Mallace - Romero , Piatti , Duka - Oduro

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They ask us...

1) Sporting KC seems to be always on top.

a) Is there a wish that winning the league did not involve winning MLS playoffs?

The playoffs can indeed be a bit of a crap shoot. But after winning it in 2013 they won't be complaining much about it. Also, I think the Supporters' Shield is still growing in importance. With the highest PPG in all of MLS, KC may have their sites set on both big trophies at this point. The club has definitely built a winning culture and high expectations.

b) When is Sporting Park going to be dubbed " the Stadium where Vermes makes a lot of awesome things happen"?

I like that name right now! The House that Vermes Built is appropriate. With only a couple of exceptions like Jorge Claros and Luis Marin in, Peter Vermes has been a master at bringing people in and making them successful. In KC with the Royals and Chiefs, (and many years of struggles) fans like to think they can do those front office jobs better. They question and doubt many decisions that are made. But with Vermes and SKC, there is a confidence that the right call will be made. Vermes has his eyes on moves 5 years down the road already. With one of the owners talking about a surplus and money to spend, fans are excited about filling the needs of another CB and some attacking depth.

2) Krisztian Nemeth came out of nowhere, his name is hard to type on a keyboard due to the accent and is a Hungarian international. As a bonus, he is scoring goals. I don't really have a question but please tell us more about the Hungarian sensation.

GLADLY haha! As I just mentioned above, Vermes is working years in advance. Being Hungarian himself, PV had his eye on Nemeth back when he was an 18 year old (and also before he knew Liverpool were after him). From the second he got here and had the ball at his feet in preseason it was clear he was going to have a huge impact on the team this year. He is playing under two coaches of Hungarian descent and I believe that has helped his transition immensely. Nemo has been getting better every game and his partnership with Dwyer up top continues to grow. It has been great watching him this season and expect more goals to come in the second half.

3) Is Zusi expendable as the club seems to still thrive without him?

Hard to call a guy like Zusi expendable, but things have indeed been working without him. Seemingly the never ending theme of this team (since the beginning of last year) has been absences due to injuries or international call ups. Last season, Peter Vermes had legitimately thrown out a different starting lineup for something like the first 25 games of the year! Therefore, these guys know how to deal with absences. Vermes is big on showing confidence in his back ups and rookies. Then when he needs to call on them, they are ready to step up for him. SKC was expecting to lose Zusi, Besler, Mustivar, Espinoza, and De Jong. So after losing just Zusi and De Jong, covering for them feels like a cinch. There is however, a noticeable difference on the right side without his creativity. If rumors are true, there may be some reinforcements coming from England. KC can get by for a few more games without him, but fans will be excited to have him back after the Gold Cup.

Predictions...

(4-3-3) Tim Melia, Chance Myers, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Marcel De Jong, Soni Mustivar, Rogers Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson

Sporting KC 3 - 1 Montreal Impact