Categorized | Uncategorized

Wizards Host Salt Lake, Hope to Extend Unbeaten Streak

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Nate Brinson

After a disappointing first half of the season, a three game unbeaten run has put the Kansas City Wizards within shouting distance of the playoffs, and they will hope to make it four when they host Real Salt Lake Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Last week, Kansas City hosted Toronto FC, and unlike their win against Manchester United the previous Sunday, the home side had difficulty producing scoring chances. The Wizards nearly found themselves trailing at halftime when Toronto’s new signing Mista broke in alone on goal just before the break, but Jimmy Nielsen’s excellent kept the game scoreless. The game’s only goal came from a defensive mistake by Toronto’s Adrian Cann in the 62nd minute. Under pressure from Kei Kamara, Cann’s headed the ball into the path of Teal Bunbury. The Wizards rookie striker headed the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the goal.

The 1-0 victory brought the Wizards to within 4 points of a playoff spot, but Peter Vermes’ team received bad news when winger Ryan Smith was forced to leave the game with a hamstring strain. Smith could be available Saturday, but Vermes may not want to rush a player back from a hamstring injury. Josh Wolff, one of Smith’s potential replacements, has picked up a quadriceps strain and is also listed as questionable.

Salt Lake enter the game after 3-0 home win over DC United. Goals from Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley, and Nelson Gonzalez helped end a two game winless streak and brought Real to within six points of the first place LA Galaxy.

The Wizards will be hoping to avenge their first meeting of the season with Real, a 4-1 defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium. Goals from Fabian Espindola and Saborio put the hosts up 2-0 in the first half before Wolff pulled one back for Kansas City before the half. The Wizards hope for a comeback ended when Davy Arnaud was sent off in the 82nd minute, and Salt Lake took advantage with goals from Robbie Russell and Ned Grabavoy.

If Kansas City is to get the victory, they must do a much better job of controlling the midfield. Vermes tried playing Arnaud and Jack Jewsbury playing behind Wolff against Salt Lake in late May, but the Wizards boss has seemingly found an effective midfield trio in Arnaud, Craig Rocastle, and Stephane Auvray. Auvray’s return to the starting lineup after recovering from knee surgery has been key in the team’s turnaround as the Guadaloupean excels in protecting the back four as well as distributing the ball through the midfield. He will be called upon to help contain Salt Lake’s dangerous playmaker Javier Morales.

Salt Lake will provide a stern test for Kansas City, but if this team has any chance of making the playoffs, they cannot afford to drop points at home, regardless of the opposition.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here