The Kansas City Wizards travel to Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. KC has been historically unsuccessful in Chicago garnering just 1 win and 1 draw to go along with 13 losses. Both the win and draw came in 2005.
Both teams enter this game with 7 points and trail only the Columbus Crew in the standing. The Crew beat DCU on Thursday and lead all teams with 9 points.
Here is the MLSnet preview. And here is the PDF game download. Both were done before the latest injury update. This update shows that Carlos Marinelli is Out for Sunday’s game. Davy Arnaud, though making his debut last week, is also out for Sunday. It seems that Sasha Victorine might be back soon, he did play against U.Memphis. I am guessing he’ll be on the bench. The Fire will be missing CJ Brown and probably Chris Rolfe too.
We get Jair Marrufo as the center referee. He was in DC Thursday for DC-C’bus. I think he did alright. But like all MLS referees I am sure he’ll be back to his “normal game” soon enough. Unfortunately that’s a KC game.
The game will be televised on Metro Sports and also Telefutura. Since this is the first road game of the year there are also watch parties. Hillcrest Road has some watch party updates. Basically three new (and Official) spots this year: O’dowds on the Plaza and at Zona Rosa(up north(, and also Barley’s Brewhaus in Lenexa. Also, kcwizards.com has a watch party page. If the game wasn’t on a Sunday then you could also go to Embassy Bistro(though it’s not official).
Ok, back to the game! I think that now with Espinoza and Myers healthy we will be seeing them starting a lot. I don’t know that anyone would be surprised to see the backline of Myers-Conrad-Wahl-Harrington. Of course Kerry Zavagnin breaking the KC games played record starting at D-mid. With Carlos out I think Kurt Morsink steps up at A-Mid. Wings will be Jewsbury and Espinoza. Now up top, that’s the tricky part. We all know that Claudio will start. But will it be with Scott Sealy or Ivan Trujillo. Mr. Sealy caught a LOT of flack last week from the fans but he did do more than a normal Eddie Johnson effort. No excuses for him, he does need to put the ball in the back of the net. Then again, so does Claudio. Either way, I think that Ivan starts up top and that Sealy will come off the bench, which he does really well and always provides a spark when he does. So, speaking of the bench, there will be some obvious choices. Kronberg will be there. So will Leathers and Hohlbein. Sealy and Eloy for attacking support. If Sasha is healthy, he’ll be there. That leaves one spot. We have seen Kraus and Lowery there. Kraus provides more to the offense and Lowery more to the defense. Curt Onalfo has favored an offensive bench over a defensive one this season, so I am going to go with Kraus as the last man on the bench.
I want to see the Wizards go at Chicago early and often. Someone needs to shut down Blanco. But really some Wizards players need to step up and be ready to release Claudio with some passes, or ready to send him one. It’s not enough to get in the six-yard box, we need some shots while there. Also, we need to do some outside shooting. Sure we have some scrappy goals and some headers but the only goal that wasn’t from a set piece or with everyone in the box was Lopez’s chip on opening day. KC has guys that strike the ball and shoot from outside, if we dont’ start doing that then this great start the team has will go right down the crapper. It would be great to see KC put the first L on Chicago. The Fire have a big field, let’s see the Wizards rip their defense apart and put them on their back heel.
No prediction from me for this game but I can see KC winning. However, a draw would be really nice and 8 out of 15 points is still a great number.