Friday, May 15, 2009

Off to Utah

The Wizards continue play this weekend with a match out West against Real Salt Lake. RSL comes into the game off the backs of a 1-0 loss in LA to Chivas USA. RSL is winless in league play since putting half a dozen on the board against New England, but the game is at Rio Tinto, where RSL is undefeated this season (3-0-1). Last time out at home they drew with LA in a game with late fireworks as 3 goals were scored in second half stoppage time.

KC comes into the game on the backs of their 3-2 loss to Columbus and after going 4 games unbeaten, the Wizards are now winless in their last 3 games. The good news for the Wizards is that it appears that Josh Wolff has found some good scoring form scoring 4 goals in his last 5 matches. Hopefully that form continues on the road this week. With Claudio Lopez now pretty much healthy from the illness that limited him to a half in Columbus, there looks like there will be only 1 lineup change this week from the team that started against Columbus. Making way for Lopez to come back into the lineup is Michael Harrington.
Watson - Conrad - Hohlbein - Besler
Arnaud - Jewsbury - Espinoza
Wolff - Lopez

Key Match Up - Matt Besler/Lance Watson vs Clint Mathis - Whichever side Mathis ends up playing on, he's going to be a handful for either Besler or Watson. Recently it appears he's played on the left meaning that Watson will get to deal with Mathis. He's experienced a bit of a revival this season, playing very well, even starting to create some whispers by people that he should receive a call back to the national team for one of the tournaments this summer.

PREDICTION - As mentioned earlier, Salt Lake is very good at home, and while the Wizards record on the road doesn't look horrible (1-3-1), the Wizards haven't looked really good on the road either this season. It's cliche, but the first goal will go a long way to deciding the game. KC is undefeated this season when scoring first (3-0-0), but are winless when conceding first (0-4-2). If KC has to chase the game, especially in the altitude in Salt Lake, they are going to be in trouble. Unfortunately I think Salt Lake is just too good of a team at Rio Tinto.

KC - 1 (Lopez)
RSL - 2 (Mathis, Findley)

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