Wednesday, August 16, 2006

MLS mid-Week 21 Preview

There are three MLS matches tonight with one of them being something every US national fan will want to see.

Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake
7:30pm ET
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Direct Kick (DK), MLStv

Real Salt Lake could do something amazing tonight and move out of last place in the West. Of course, with a win, the Crew could do the same in the East, unless Chicago gets a result in the late game.

Anyway, Real seem ready to make something happen. Their play has stepped up of late with Jeff Cunningham leading the way. Real's midfield has come a long distance in just a month and should be enough to hold the attack of, um, that Crew player who, um, let's say Sebastian Rozental. Okay, the point is, the Crew don't really have offensive options. Add to it that they still don't really have a goaltender and you've got the makings of a three-point sandwich for Salt Lake.

New York Red Bulls vs. DC United
7:30pm ET

This is the match everyone wishes was on Fox Soccer tonight. Bruce Arena's real debut happens tonight, at home, against his former team. With all the hype going around some might forget that we are talking about the team from New York. They did look better before the break and the first 45-minutes against Barcelona were not bad, but they are still New York. Amado Guevara and Youri Djorkaeff have all the skill needed to control the play of the game, but to often they are missing and unable to find players in the box. Add to it the way the defense likes to fall over themselves and you've got some problems.

But DC is not immune from anything. Before their two-weeks off of MLS play, they were looking tired and distracted, almost as if they felt that they didn't need to play to win. Sure enough, they didn't win. The question for United tonight is can they wake themselves up. I'm guessing the thrill of beating New York and Arena will be enough to set off their alarm clocks, but don't be surprised if they find themselves down early.

Chicago Fire vs. Kansas City Wizards
9:00pm ET

These two just faced each other 48-hours ago in a US Open match, but unlike on Monday, the stars will be out from the start for this one. Chicago is quickly collapsing under its inexperience. Surrendering late goals seems to be their motto these days as the team seems to shift to neutral around the 80th minute. For KC, over the weekend they showed that they could revive themselves with a full team working together. Eddie Johnson was still absent for most of the game, but Scott Sealy, Jose Burciaga Jr. and Jack Jewsbury will skilled enough to confuse the Crew.

The question for the Fire is can they do better then the Crew and can they 5 game home winless streak. Sadly, I think not.

Don't forget the US Soccer Carnival part IV.



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