Friday, June 19, 2009

SuperLiga Starts

The Wizards begin their first excursion into international soccer since the 2005 CONCACAF Champion's Cup when they take on sister club, Atlas in St. Louis on Sunday. This starts a busy schedule for the Wizards as they play Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Tuesday over the next two weeks, not a friendly schedule by any means, and it will certainly test the team's depth, especially with Davy Arnaud and Roger Espinoza soon leaving for national team duty.

As for Atlas, the roster that they're bringing to SuperLiga is mainly a young roster, with a few experienced players to fill in the gaps. The biggest names on the list is probably former Mexican international, Miguel Zepeda and future Mexican national teamer Hugo Ayala. They certainly will not be a push over for the Wizards.

KC will have Arnaud and Espinoza for this game, but judging by practice this week, I doubt Arnaud will travel due to a nagging knee injury. I also doubt that Wizards captain, Jimmy Conrad will travel, due to a hamstring issue. The Arnaud issue is a little easier to cover, the loss of Conrad will definitely be a big hole in the defense for the Wizards to fill. Into that slot will likely step second year man, Rauwshan McKenzie. It looks like, at least for the first game, the Wizards will play a predominately first team lineup.
Watson - Hohlbein - McKenzie - Besler
Zusi - Jewsbury - Gomez
Wolff - Lopez

Key Match Up - Rauwshan McKenzie against his mark - I don't know a lot about Atlas' team, but with a very inexperienced center back in McKenzie (45 professional minutes played), you can expect Atlas to try and exploit that.

Prediction - Last year during preseason, the Wizards full reserve side defended a mix of Atlas first and second team players 2-1 at CAB. Hopefully a predominately first team can take it to a majority reserve Atlas side this year. Still, it'll be interesting to see how things go. If you need play by play on Sunday, check here, as I'll be in the press box providing it.

KC - 3 (Lopez, Wolff, Zusi)
Atlas - 1

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