Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
RSL has Rio Tinto edge against defending champ
by Ridge Mahoney, October 30th, 2009 6:45AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF PREDICTION] The Eastern Conference semifinals get underway Saturday with a "crossover" Western team, Real Salt Lake, hosting the defending champion Columbus Crew, which didn't fare well the last time it visited Rio Tinto Stadium.

SATURDAY
REAL SALT LAKE (11-12-7) vs. COLUMBUS (13-7-10), 6 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol

Way back in early April, when the weather was cold and so was the Crew, RSL laced Columbus, 4-1, at Rio Tinto Stadium with a Robbie Findley hat trick. The Crew eventually posted the league's best record, but finished just a point ahead of Los Angeles and Houston. RSL needed to win two of its last three games to sneak into the playoffs, yet retains the experience gained from upsetting Chivas USA in the first round last year.

Its dominant home form (9-1-5) gives RSL a great opportunity to take the lead in this series, as do the speed and finishing of Findley (12 goals) and Yura Movsisyan (eight). Yet more than the zealous work rate and energy of midfielder Kyle Beckerman may be needed to unlock the Crew defense, and this hasn't been a great season for playmaker Javier Morales (one goal, five assists). More may come from Clint Mathis and/or Andy Williams, who registered a combined 13 assists. They will be closely watched by Crew destroyers Brian Carroll and Adam Moffat.

Columbus has lost three of its last four league games while scoring just one goal. Though Guillermo Barros Schelotto's 12 goals is the most he's scored in MLS, the 2008 league and MLS Cup MVP has been bothered by injuries. A sprained knee has plagued 2008 Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, who hasn't played since Sept. 13 and is listed as probable. Columbus may be the most potent flank team in MLS with midfielders Robbie Rogers, Emmanuel Ekpo and Eddie Gaven, plus outside backs Gino Padula and Frankie Hejduk, so RSL must stay tight in those areas while it monitors Schelotto's movments.
Prediction: RSL 2, Crew 1.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Business Reporter: Union teams up with Dogfish Head    
The Philadelphia Union will open to a new destination beer garden with Dogfish Head Brewery at ...
Columbus switches USL PRO affiliations    
The Columbus Crew will team up with the Austin Aztex to send players from its first ...
Lee Nguyen: Sitting back is not in Revs' DNA    
The New England Revolution tied an MLS record when it scored nine goals in its first ...
What They're Saying: Jerome Valcke    
"It is easy to destroy a reputation, it takes one second, it takes years to build ...
Champions League scenarios: 11 teams for five spots    
Eleven teams have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League, and 11 more teams, ...
Video Pick: Bend it like Uesato    
Our favorite free kick goal of the week comes from J-League 2, where Consadole Sapporo's Kazumasa ...
Breaking down the NCAA Division I women's quarterfinals    
The NCAA Division I Women's Tournament moves into the quarterfinals with three games on Friday and ...
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives