Friday, June 27, 2008

A View From the Other Side: RSL vs. KC

Real Salt Lake -vs- Kansas City Wizards
Courtesy of Big Soccer poster kuhnscoot

“All we are saying is give us a goal….”

That’s become the theme song for Wizards fans the past couple weeks. The Wizards come into this weekend’s game against Real Salt having not scored in over 320 minutes of soccer now. They haven’t scored since Claudio Lopez’s strike against LA, over a month ago now. We haven’t won a league game in over two months. With Real Salt Lake coming in on a 5 game unbeaten run, this game is a recipe for disaster for Wizards fans.

The one thing in KC’s favor heading into the game this weekend is Real’s poor road form this season. While RSL won their last road game 1-0 over Chivas, they are 1-5 on the road this season. So there’s hope that they’ll return to their regular road form in KC this weekend. That said, KC’s last home game was a complete debacle. Playing without any passion and looking completely inept on the field, KC was humiliated 3-0 by the Crew.

While the season as a whole has been a bit of a disappointment, there have been a few bright spots. The brightest one of all has been goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman. Hartman lost 15-20 pounds this offseason, and without that dead weight, he’s been looking like the El Gato of old. In many games, he’s been the difference been points and nothing (as our game in Salt Lake earlier this season shows). If it wasn’t for the young defense in front of him, he’d be a candidate for MVP along with Matt Reis.

Other bright spots include the play of Claudio Lopez. While all Wizards fans would like to see him getting on the scorers sheet more often, the former Argentine international has shown that he’s not here to just collect a pay check, he’s here to work. That’s been shown in his frustration the last few games with players not completing runs or not seeing the runs they should be making. Hopefully the rest of the team will start to make those runs and reward Lopez with a few more stats. And there’s always the reliable Jimmy Conrad in back, his match up this weekend (if he plays) with Kenny Deuchar will be fun to watch. He’s been the veteran rock in the middle of a back line that for much of the season was starting players who were either in their first or second year as professionals, or in their first season as a regular starter.

There is talk that Conrad may not play Saturday due to some kind of injury. He’s not on the injury report, but it’s unknown whether he’ll play or not. As for the rest of the lineup, here’s how the first team looked in practice the other day, so it would be my best guess as to the lineup this weekend.


If Conrad is unable to go, Wahl will get plugged into his spot. If he can’t go, RSL’s chances of getting all 3 points just went up. The back line was already young coming into this season, with Conrad out; our most experienced defender is Jewsbury who only started playing defense in the pros last season.

The big match up in my mind other then that potential Deuchar-Conrad match up, is the match up between Kyle Beckerman and whichever of Victorine or Morsink that’s marking him. Beckerman has been having a good season and both Victorine and Morsink will need to be on top of their game to shut him down.

The hope is that the friendly confines of home will be more welcoming this time. Something needs to begin to happen with the team or else Coach Onalfo’s seat is going to start to get warm. The talk is that we’re looking to bring back Josh Wolff. I don’t know if that’ll be a way to solve our problems, but it certainly won’t matter for this weekend.

“All we are saying is give us a goal….”