Kansas City travels to Columbus for the second time this year and for the final season match up with the Crew(barring playoffs). The Crew have won both previous match ups and scored early in doing so. KC was never really in either game. Also, the last time in Columbus Roger Espinoza was ejected just 2 minutes after the Crew went up 2-0 and that hampered KC’s ability to generate offense.
Since the 3-0 loss at home to Columbus the Wizards are technically unbeaten. Three wins and three(PK loss) draws and scoring 8 goals. Columbus has also done well since the win in KC, only losing for the first time last week to RSL(current West leaders).
KC goes into this week’s game a little weaker at offense. On Monday they traded away Scott Sealy and do not yet have Josh Wolff ready to go 90 minutes, though he will be on the bench. One wonders who will partner with Ivan Trujillo up top with Sealy gone. Will Claudio Lopez move back up and Roger Espinoza take over at left mid? Both Lance Watson and Ryan Pore can play left mid too. Thad from The Backpost had pictures with Lance Watson playing with the first team, though I am not sure he’s ready for first team play. Carlos Marinelli won’t be playing there though as he’s listed as doubtful with a hamstring strain. Of course, we could just have Ryan Pore start up top with Ivan and Claudio stay on the left. I have a feeling Roger will be starting though … and he better continue to keep his cool. Rest of the lineup should be the same as Kerry Zavagnin seems to have been relegated to “veteran off the bench” status.
With either Roger or Ryan starting, our bench is even weaker since Jon Leathers will not be playing due to a knee sprain. Though we will have Josh Wolff on the bench and that is good. I’d not be surprised to see him come on at halftime.
The Wizards need to play like they did last week against New York. Come out attacking, possess the ball, make smart passes and just shoot. They did a great job of this until the last 20 minutes or so when their formation shape started to fall apart and they dropped(collapsed?) back to defend the 2-1 lead. I applaud the defense for absorbing the attack but Columbus is a better team than NY.
KC gets a veteran MLS ref this week in Abbey Okulaja. He gives PK’s every 4 games and red cards every 7 games.
Weather for the game looks to be Ok. It will be high 80’s and almost no win. There is no precipitation in the forecast either.
Historically KC and Columbus have split the series with 16 wins each and 4 draws. The Crew have scored five more goals overall. And each are better at home than on the road in this series.
I have no idea for a score here. KC is playing better, the Crew are still playing good. A win would be fantastic but a draw would be very acceptable – especially with Columbus having the second best record in MLS. They also have 16 of their 27 points from home games.