Friday, August 06, 2010

The Champs Come to Town

The Wizards are looking to continue their 3 game league unbeaten run tomorrow night out at Community America Ballpark against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Real Salt Lake. RSL is beginning a busy part of their schedule as they have 3 MLS games in the next two weeks, along with a CONCACAF Champion's League group play match. With the busy schedule, you can bet the Wizards are hoping to catch RSL napping. Course with the jerseys it looks like RSL will be wearing, it might be hard for anyone to fall asleep. RSL comes into this game with plenty of confidence having dispatched DC United at home 3-0 in Curt Onalfo's last game as coach of the team.

Confidence should be a little higher for the Wizards after their past few games. Hopefully it can continue. The one big worry heading into this week, is the health of left winger/forward Ryan Smith. Smith pulled up lame in the team's 1-0 win over Toronto with some type of hamstring injury. At the moment he's questionable, which is higher than I thought he would be heading into this weekend's game. That said I don't really expect him to play this week even though he has practiced a bit. It would appear that Josh Wolff would be the favorite to take his place, but he too is currently listed as questionable for the game against RSL. If Wolff can't go it may become Chance Myers chance to return up top, mainly due to lack of options on the bench. Another option could be to put Davy Arnaud up top and slide Graham Zusi into the midfield, or even put Zusi as the left sided player. In the end I think that Wolff will play if Smith cannot.

Harrington - Conrad - Thomas - Espinoza
Arnaud - Auvray - Rocastle
Kamara - Bunbury - Wolff

Key Match Up - Stephane Auvray vs Kyle Beckerman - The battle of the dreads, and a battle of two of the better midfielders in MLS Auvray and Beckerman may not match up head to head. But the way each of them controls the midfield will have a huge effect on who wins this game.

PREDICTION - RSL is playing very well, they've lost only 1 of their last 13 league matches and have been an incredibly consistent team other than their loss to Dallas. This will be a big test for the Wizards and whether they can continue their unbeaten run. I want to say I can see it, but with the Wizards continued struggles to put the ball in the net (even during their unbeaten run they've only scored 3 goals) doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence. Hopefully the Wizards can grab all 3 and to make the playoffs I think they need to continue to win their home, but it's going to be hard to beat one of the best teams in the league.

KC - 1 (Kamara)
RSL - 1 (Morales)

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