Categorized | Game Previews

Wizards visit for regular season finale

Posted on 25 October 2008 by L.E. Eisenmenger

The New England Revolution host the Kansas City Wizards for their last match of the regular season. The last time these two teams met the Wizards’ Hercules Gomez delivered an unpunished tackle on captain Steve Ralston – breaking his leg just before playoffs, for which both teams have qualified. The Revolution booked the third playoff berth and the Wizards hold one of the two undetermined wild card slots. The highest wildcard becomes the fourth seed of the Eastern Conference, the runner-up the fourth seed of the Western.

New England have won only one of their past eleven games and need to look dangerous before launching the opening playoff match against the Fire next Thursday. Taylor Twellman is looking for his 100th career goal and likely to get it any way he can, as he demonstrated Saturday by reaching well back into midfield. Mauricio Castro, who assumed some of Ralston’s playmaking workload, is also likely to factor.

Three-time MLS Cup winner Chris Albright feels that despite their inconsistent performances, they have the quality. “Absolutely, absolutely. It’s just about getting on our own and we’ve got the guys to do that.”

Although the Revolution’s veterans Shalrie Joseph, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Matt Reis, Khano Smith, and Jeff Larentowicz have the credentials, their success may depend on the mettle of the newer players – Wells Thompson, Gabriel Badilla, Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally, and Kheli Dube.

“It’s a team game,” said coach Steve Nicol, “you need everybody to bring it all the time. It’s no good three or four guys be doing that, you need everybody to do that. That’s what it’s all about, particularly at playoff time. You want to have good form, but you need to be disciplined, you need to be mentally strong, your attitude has to be right, and most of all you need to make good decisions.”

A disjointed performance by the Revolution led to the recent 1-0 loss to the Wizards. “We just played them two weeks ago, said Wizards coach Curt Onalfo, “which is probably a good thing because it’s a very similar team we’ll see on Saturday. We know what they do extremely well – they have an excellent wing spirit and competitive attitude and we have to make sure we neutralize their strengths and make sure we capitalize on the opportunities we create.”

The Wizards will likely play without Josh Wolff, recently sidelined with a “fibular stress reaction” in his lower leg. An integral part of their attack, Wolff tallied three goals and three assists since he returned to Kansas City mid-July after a year and a half at 1860 Munich. The Wizards will depend on Davy Arnoud and defender Jimmy Conrad, who lead with six goals apiece, and designated player Claudio Lopez to lead the attack. Hercules Gomez is not likely to get a warm reception.

TV 38: Saturday October 25, 7:30 ET– Kansas City Wizards @ New England Revolution

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