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Crew looks to tighten D against KC
by Ridge Mahoney, June 20th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  mls


Schelotto[TV PREVIEW] Two teams coming off six-goal games last weekend figure to tighten things up, so there might be a repeat of their May 5 meeting (1-0). Jose Burciaga slalomed through the Crew to score the only goal of the game in the 90th minute to end a Crew three-game shutout streak. That was also the game in which Ricardo Virtuoso's shoulder cracked the jaw of Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and Guillermo Barros Schelotto debuted for the Crew. Columbus is a much different team than it was then, which it showed last week by rallying from two goals down to snatch a 3-3 tie with the Revs at Gillette Stadium.

COLUMBUS (1-4-6) vs. KANSAS CITY (6-2-2)
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, Direct Kick

Ned Grabavoy has taken an assertive role in midfield, Schelotto has energized the attack, and Joseph Ngwenya has been traded to Houston in exchange for Alejandro Moreno. Coach Sigi Schmid has also benched keeper Andy Gruenebaum for Will Hesmer, who didn't look sharp last week against the Revs but certainly needed the game action.

The Schelotto-to-Moreno connection has already produced two goals, including last week's excellent equalizer at New England, a torpedo header from Schelotto's driven cross. They also teamed up the previous week for the Crew goal in a 2-1 loss to Houston.

This offensive spark has come at a price. Columbus has not won in the last seven games and has allowed 14 goals in the last five.

Kansas City had a dramatic comeback win and first place in the bag last weekend until stoppage time, when a seemingly innocuous collision between John Wolyniec and Burciaga resulted in a penalty kick by which Red Bull New York pulled out a 3-3 tie after it had blown a 2-0 lead.

The Wizards are 2-0-2 in their last four games, but have allowed nine goals, having beaten New England, 4-3, and New York, 3-2, prior to last week's goal fest.

In last year's four meetings, Kansas City blanked the Crew in the last three, and that's certainly what coach Curt Onalfo will be looking for instead of another shootout. Yura Movsisyan replaced Scott Sealy last weekend and scored the second and third KC goals, including a splendid chip to put Kansas City ahead.

Andy Herron (hip flexor strain) and Virtuoso (ankle sprain) are out of the Crew lineup and Frankie Hejduk is on USA duty, as is Tim Ward, Danny Szetela, and Robbie Rogers with the U-20s. For Kansas City, the only injury concern is Burciaga, questionable with a shoulder sprain. Sealy, who has missed most of the season with an ankle sprain, is probable.


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