Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
USA-Canada International Friendly Player Ratings    
The USA closed out its winter camp with a 1-0 win over Canada on a late ...
UCLA lands Pugh and Fleming in recruiting coup    
UCLA has signed U.S. women's national team player Mallory Pugh and Canadian Women's World Cup veteran ...
MLS player tracker with complete rosters (Feb. 4)    
Columbus Crew SC now has Ola Kamara to go along with Kei Kamara. The 26-year-old Ola ...
USA-Canada Preview: Youngsters should get second look    
Jurgen Klinsmann says he has two short-term goals for the USA's second and final test of ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Naturally, we're upset. The players are very, very upset. We feel disrespected. We feel that our ...
What They're Saying: Jerome Kiesewetter    
"I always did [feel like an American]. My mom always told me about my dad, about ...
Detroit City FC hits financing goal for stadium work    
Detroit City FC, the community-based NPSL team that has become a hit in the Motor City, ...
Video Pick: The Vardy Volley    
In case you missed it, or would like to see it again from every possible angle, ...
Under the hood of MLS's CBA    
The contours of the collective bargaining agreement MLS reached with the MLS Players Union have been ...
Making a List: 2015 U-17s in the pros    
Joshua Perez, nephew of former U.S. World Cup player Hugo Perez, signed with Italy's Fiorentina, becoming ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives