Friday, October 01, 2010

Not Quite a Must Win, but Close

Tomorrow's game at Red Bull Arena between the Wizards and the Red Bulls isn't a must win for the Wizards, but it's close to one. With Colorado at home to DC United and Seattle is at home to Toronto. Both teams the Wizards are trying to catch for a playoff spot and both have very winnable games, so while a loss won't eliminate the Wizards from playoff contention it certainly hurts it quite a bit. A loss tomorrow likely means the Wizards face winning their final 4 games and needing help as well. But New York is not going to be an easy game for KC, they beat the Wizards 3-0 earlier this season, and have since added Thierry Henry to their forward line and Rafael Marquez to their midfield. Henry has been cleared to play this weekend, but it appears that Marquez will be missing out. And while it's not a given he'll start, Wizards killer, Juan Pablo Angel is still on the Red Bulls as well and he'll pose plenty of challenges for KC.

After the loss last week KC has plenty of questions to ask of itself. The slow central defensive pairing of Jimmy Conrad and Shavar Thomas was exposed by Dallas but won't be as much of a problem this weekend as New York's speed is on the wings with Dane Richards. The other question is what has happened to the form of Stephane Auvray, the past two games he has struggled and has been subbed out early in both games. Is it the strain of the long physical season for MLS? That would seem the most likely idea. It may be time to give Auvray a game or at least a start off. With him out it would seem that Jack Jewsbury is the likeliest to fill in in midfield. But the other question is what to do about the Birahim Diop experiment as forward. He had his one big game against New England but has been poor as a striker since than. He doesn't play the game like striker and at this point of the season we need a forward that will. But I have a feeling the Diop experiment will continue.

Harrington - Conrad - Thomas - Espinoza
Arnaud - Rocastle - Jewsbury
Kamara - Diop - Smith

Key Match Up - Craig Rocastle vs Mehdi Ballouchy - It'd be easy to pick a match up involving Henry or Angel, but Ballouchy has had a good run of form since being traded to New York. And with Auvray out it's going to fall to Rocastle to keep Ballouchy in check. It should be interesting to see the match as both play physical styles.

PREDICTION - This isn't quite a must win but getting 3 points in New York would be huge. It's not going to be easy as New York is back in the Supporters' Shield race and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Wizards, clinching the second place spot in the East. So New York has plenty to fight for. I just don't see the Wizards getting anything out of this game unfortunately.

KC - 1 (Kamara)
NY - 2 (Henry, Angel)

1 comment:

Nathan Martin said...

Toronto laid down on us again... They are the softest team in the league. DC may be terrible but they at least fight for each other.

This is a must win in my book.