Friday, August 28, 2009

RSL Vs. Kansas City – Pregame thoughts

Coming off an impressive 4-0 win at home of expansion rival Chivas USA Real Salt Lake find them selves in another must win game. Their playoff hopes revived a little along with their pride this last Wednesday but home isn’t the only place RSL needs results to stay in the play-off race. Currently ten teams have thirty or more points and only four of those teams have played as many games as Real Salt Lake. If there was ever a time to put together a winning streak now is it.

Kansas City meanwhile has been all but eliminated from the playoffs already. Losers of their last three games and winless in six league matches they would have to win the rest of their games to have any kind of playoff chance. Their last goal came before the All-Star break and was a midfield blast from Claudio Lopez that stunned the LA Galaxy on July, 25th. (To watch Lopez’s goal follow this Link)

These two squads last met on May, 16th in Salt Lake in a match that saw the Wizards walk away with a 2-0 win. That lose was one of four that the Claret and Cobalt suffered during a winless month of May and remains the teams only home loss. Josh Wolfe would be the hero on the night for the Wizards, scoring two goals and causing problems for the Salt Lake back line through out the match. Unfortunately for the Kansas City fans they have only scored six goals since that night and have only one win since starting the season 4-4-2.

Real will be without the services of Will Johnson for this match as he is out due to yellow card accumulation. Javier Morales, who went down with a groin strain last Sunday, is listed as questionable for the game. Their spots (should Morales not be ready to go) will most likely be picked up by Ned Grabavoy and Andy Williams though Coach Kreis could surprise us by using Clint Mathis in either spot and playing Rachid El Kalifi out wide on the right.

As a fan my biggest concerns going into this match are Morales’ injury, i would probably hold him out one more game to be safe, and if this will be a game where an aggressive Salt Lake side finally look to assert their dominance against an inferior team from the get go. On the season RSL have only won one road game and tied two others. If they want to reach the playoffs they have to come away with a result from this game. one point would probably be okay on the road against most teams but with the way Kansas is playing any less than three will be a major disappointment to me.