Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
RSL has Rio Tinto edge against defending champ
by Ridge Mahoney, October 30th, 2009 6:45AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily



[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.

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



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jake Edwards    
"It'll evolve slightly for some of those teams over the coming seasons, I believe. We'll find ...
MLS Decision Day: What's at stake    
The 2016 Supporters' Shield and the final two playoff berths are on the line on Sunday ...
MLS Countdown: Donovan, Gordon are Galaxy wild cards    
Last weekend Landon Donovan started his first game since coming out of retirement yet it was ...
This week in women's college soccer    
Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and BYU senior Ashley Hatch made their national team debuts with the ...
This week in men's college soccer    
One of the most impressive streaks in recent years in men's college soccer is Denver's 32-game ...
What They're Saying: Sigi Schmid    
"I would love to do that, but there's still this thing, stigma, lack of respect or ...
CCL: FC Dallas rallies to clinch group title    
Needing at least a tie to advance, FC Dallas rallied from 2-0 down after 22 minutes ...
USL Final: Red Bulls II favored, but Rangers are ready    
The USL season concludes Sunday at Red Bull Arena, where the home team, New York Red ...
CCL: Seedings give MLS chance of two teams in semis    
Concacaf pairs the teams for the quarterfinals of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League by seeding them ...
U.S. U-18 women lose to England, beat France     
The U.S. U-18 women's national team, coached by April Heinrichs, opened the 2016 Women's International Cup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives