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Pitch Pit: Sporting KC’s Isimat-Mirin v Whitecaps’ Cristian Dajome

A throw down in the Pacific Northwest.

MLS: New York City FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe this Pitch Pit installment from the “In the Box” catalog should be entitled “Rug Rumble” as Sporting Kansas City will battle Vancouver Whitecaps on the turf at BC Place today. Kickoff is at 7:08 pm CST.

Or “Streak Street Fight” considering Sporting has lost five away matches (2-3 overall in 2022) on the tumble dating back to last season and Vancouver is winless in seven straight matches (0-3-1 overall in 2022), including last season’s playoff loss to Sporting. Too much alliteration? This one might be a draw? Agreed. And, well, that’s why the game is played – to see the result unfold.

The matches’ biggest battle will pit Sporting’s Nicolas Isimat-Mirin v Vancouver’s Cristian Dajome.

Vitals

Vitals

Vitals Ht Wt Age MLS Seas Base Salary
Vitals Ht Wt Age MLS Seas Base Salary
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin 6'2" 181 30 2nd 950,000
Cristian Dajome 5'8" 154 28 3rd 400,000

Wheres and What they Gots

Isimat-Mirin is a right center back in 4-3-3 setup, while Dajome is a left forward/midfielder in a 3-4-1-2 (or 3-4-2-1). Wait. Won’t Dajome be marked by right back Graham Zusi or right winger Johnny Russell in those layouts one may ask. See below:

The above passing network is from the Whitecaps’ last home match (a March 5, 0-0 draw with New York City FC). The networks for their away matches are similar. Dajome is #11, just left of Ghanaian midfielder Leonard Owusu, who is on top of #25 Scottish playmaker Ryan Gauld. The speedy Dajome likes the middle spaces where he can run off the Gauld and the two forwards, either via combination or dribbles while the others occupy the center backs and/or holding midfielder. Sporting and #6 Remi Walter and Isimat-Mirin – who best matches Dajome’s pace – will need to be wary of the Colombian.

Telling Stats

Telling Stats

Stats Int Duel % KP DRB % xG G g+
Stats Int Duel % KP DRB % xG G g+
Isimat-Mirin 6 41.7 3 0 0.16 0 0.15
Cristian Dajome 1 47.2 2 66.7 0.43 0 0.08

Isimat-Mirin is tied for the lead in Interceptions for Kansas City, while Dajome is tied for the lead in DRB% for Vancouver and has the only primary assist for his side on the season. Isimat-Mirin’s stats show the Frenchman to be critical to Sporting’s makeup, as he is. However, the duel percentage comparison is a tad worrisome.

Latelies

Isimat-Mirin has been the boss in the back for Kansas City in their 2-3 start to the season. Not only does “Easy” personify his moniker, but he is a strong passer as his 86.9 passing percentage attests. In summary, Isimat-Mirin puts out lots of fires for Sporting.

I will leave Dajome’s latest performance to the SB Nation site of the Whitecaps (eightsixforever.com):

“Cristian Dajome - 3.5 The effort was decent, though LAFC never looked thoroughly menaced by his presence. Maybe it was as simple as a lack of cohesion with Brown Sunday night. But the decision-making? Woof. Dajome cannot and should not live down his decision to shoot when on that early 2-on-1 counterattack. Not for the next little while, anyway. You have the opportunity to extend your lead while playing away to a dangerous opponent by laying the ball to a wide open teammate where the closest defender to him is the one bearing down on you, and you opt to carry the ball into a tight-angled shot? Yeesh. Subbed for Deiber Caicedo at 74’.

Ink Links

Nicholas Isimat-Mirin: A Tactical Look at Sporting KC’s French CB - The Blue Testament

Whitecaps’ Cristian Dájome paying it forward, helping fellow Colombian Caicedo in MLS transition | Toronto Sun

Tactics

There are lots of questions regarding this battle, mostly on Vancouver’s end. If the ‘Caps Gauld plays, he will attract a lot of Walter and Isimat-Mirin’s (and Andreu Fontas, who should handle forward Lucas Cavallini) attention, thus opening more room for Dajome to glide quickly across BC’s carpet and past the slow-footed Sporting defense. Furthermore, if injured forward Brian White gets back in the lineup for Vancouver, the more Sporting will have to deal with. If Isimat-Mirin can keep Dajome in front of him and effectively cover right back Graham Zusi anytime Dajome runs at him, Sporting could keep damage to a minimum. Here’s to Isimat-Mirin winning most duels between the two and putting in a set piece to top Dajome this match.