Sunday, June 14, 2009

6/14/09: Crew vs. Chivas Preview

Picture comment: Young USA guns square off today at 3 p.m.; Robbie Rogers is due for a big game and possibly the stars align as last time Chivas was in town Rogers was on fire.

The Columbus Crew(3-2-7) come into today's game on a eight game unbeaten streak including three wins and five ties. The Crew need a victory today to keep pace with Toronto and Kansas City; as Columbus jumped into a third place tie with both of those teams last week via a 2-0 victory at Kansas City. This week Toronto and Kansas City were both back to winning with 2-1 and 3-1 victories over New York and New England respectively. The Crew need to win to stay even with these sides at 19 points. If the Crew win today, they will be in the driver's seat with a nice advantage of 1 game in hand on both of these squads. Additionally, with a win today first place would be three points away. The Crew play a lately weak FC Dallas team next week in Frisco and if the results go there way, could be tied for first place after next Saturday.

First things, first though. The Crew need to beat the point leaders in MLS, Chivas.

Chivas USA fell to the Houston Dynamo(the other point leaders in MLS) 1-0 on Wednesday, and have only won one game(1-0 victory vs. Seattle) out of their last five. It seems that Preki's squad is starting to cool down a bit after a scintillating start. Also, what could work in the Crew's advantage is that Chivas USA will be working on only 3 and a 1/2 days rest. However, there is no doubt that Preki(who was Warzycha's roommate at Everton) is just going to roll over and make it easy for Columbus.

LINEUPS: The red card to Chad Marshall puts the Crew in a bind. Usually, the red card would not be such a detriment, as Carroll or Moffat could slot into defensive midfield and push O'Rourke back to central defense. However, both Carroll and Moffat are still out for today's game. Which means either the Crew will have to place Andy Iro in central defense and leave O'Rourke in defensive midfield. Or slot O'Rourke back to central defense and give rookie(well, at least experience wise) defensive midfielder Kevin Burns his first start. It seems as if Warzycha is going to give the rookie a go, as possibly Warzycha isn't confident with a just off of injury Iro teaming up with Brunner in the back four.

Also, Moreno, who was off on World Cup qualifying duty with Venezuela, will reclaim his spot that Noonan took for the last game.

Columbus Crew(4-1-3-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Jed Zayner, Eric Brunner, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula - Kevin Burns - Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Alejandro Moreno.

Key pieces like Ante Razov and Ante Jazic will still probably be out for Chivas. While in less cheerful news, Sasha Kljestan will probably be back after being away with the USA on national team duty.

Chivas USA's probable lineup (4-4-2): Zach Thornton - Jim Curtin, Carey Talley, Shavar Thomas, Jorge Flores - Sasha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Sasha Victorine - Atiba Harris, Maykel Galindo.

Result Prediction: It will be a tough game between two very good teams. But, I think that the Crew can't afford to drop points at home and will come out with a victory in the end. Goals by Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Robbie Rogers will help the Crew sneak away with a 2-1 victory to keep pace in the East.


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